We’re still struggling to build a more perfect union

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constitutionAs a nation, we are deeply polarized. And our partisan divisions will solidify with the approaching 2014 midterm elections and the horserace already under way for the 2016 presidential campaign.

With that as a backdrop, On Wisconsin is dedicating some major real estate in this issue to show how UW–Madison professors, researchers, and alumni are looking under the hood of democracy. In fields ranging from political science to journalism to digital studies, faculty and graduate students are exploring how well our voting system works (or doesn’t), what influences our political beliefs, where we get our information about issues and candidates, and how we can help the voters of tomorrow become good citizens.

UW professors have served on presidential commissions, testified in high-profile lawsuits about a Wisconsin law that would require voters to show an ID at the polls, and steadily made sense of our political system through interviews with news media from around the globe.

If you go to the polls in November — helping to determine control of Congress and choose candidates for governor and other state and local offices — you’ll be in the minority of Americans.

That mass demonstration of apathy is understandable. Modern politics can be exasperating. Our world is changing at a dizzying pace. But the work happening here at the UW helps us reflect on our rights and responsibilities as citizens, how we inform ourselves and make decisions come Election Day, and what it means to be an American.

Published in the Fall 2014 issue

Tags: democracy, politics

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