The District government can lay claim to being the fourth-healthiest democracy in the country, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a left-leaning policy institute and advocacy organization. Still, the report notes, while the city government has laudable laws encouraging participation and equality in local government, it’s impossible for it to have a truly healthy democracy without having representation in Congress and full control over its local budget. The study evaluated the District’s and each state’s government in three different categories: Accessibility in the ballot, representation in state government and influence in the political system.
The District, which was included in the “state democracies” list even though it’s not a state, earned an A- in the first two categories, but a D in the third, which examines the local government’s campaign finance and ethics laws.
Maryland ranked 10th on the list and Virginia finished 50th, only ranking ahead of Alabama. (Maryland earned a B+ in accessibility in the ballot, a D+ in representation in state government and a B- in influence in the political system; Virginia earned a F, F, and D- respectively.)