July 28, 2023

STATEMENT: IRG Observes Reading Week to Stay Informed and Up-to-Date on Ever-Changing Political Landscape

Voting rights policy experts share what they’re reading next week

For Immediate Release:
July 28, 2023


WASHINGTON — Next week, the Institute for Responsive Government (IRG) will be holding space to observe the organization’s new concept called “reading week.” The IRG team will be offline and taking time to read and listen to the ideas of other experts in the voting rights and practical policy space to ensure the team is up-to-date on policy solutions for a wide array of ever-changing political climates.

“The urgent and timely nature of our work doesn’t easily make space for learning and developing new concepts, but throughout the year, we come across books, articles, and podcasts that can better inform the work we do,” said Sam Oliker-Friedland, executive director of the Institute for Responsive Government. “This next week will give our team the time they need to read and think about  practical policymaking ahead of the 2024 state legislative cycle. This is an exercise we highly encourage others to do as well.”

Some selections from IRG’s reading week list include:

Recoding America: Why Government is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better by Jennifer Pahlka

  • Pahlka’s new book examines how our government uses technology and what it would take to improve bureaucratic processes in the digital age.

Building Inclusive Elections by Toby S. James; Holly Ann Garnett

  • James and Garnett tackle the problem of low electoral participation and discuss policies that can curb turnout inequality and lack of representation in government.

Fragmented Democracy by Jamilia Michner

  • When it comes to Medicaid, Michner discusses the fragmented nature in which the program serves — or fails to serve — the people who need coverage the most. The connection between voter registration, political power, and the ability for vulnerable communities to be able to gain social goods like adequate healthcare is an integral part of the story told in this book. 

The Way We Vote: The Local Dimension of American Suffrage by Alec C. Ewald

  • Ewald addresses drastic changes in local election administration throughout American history and the consequences localized voting systems have had on democratic equality.

How Liberals — Yes Liberals — Are Hobbling Government from The Ezra Klein Show

  • In this podcast, legal scholar Nicholas Bagley discusses how liberals — liberal lawyers in particular — created a procedural nightmare for a responsive government. 

The 100 Million Project: The Untold Story of American Non-Voters by the Knight Foundation

  • The Knight Foundation commissioned a study of non-voters in 2016 to understand the motivating factors of low electoral participation.

The team at Responsive Government hopes to serve as an asset to reporters following reading week, marrying the policy expertise the team currently has with the newfound knowledge they hope to gain next week.

To speak with subject matter experts, please contact press@responsivegoverning.org.


The Institute for Responsive Government is a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to ensuring state and federal governments work effectively for the very people they serve. IRG provides data, research, and expertise to elected officials in order to find practical policy solutions that make government systems more efficient, accessible, and responsive.