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The separation of electoral powers, as outlined in this essay, is a progression in the evolution of republican political theory. Just as Madison improved upon Montesquieu, so too is it necessary for our generation to improve upon Madison in light of our experience with the Madisonian system since the founding of our federal republic. I harbor no illusions that the system described will be adopted anytime soon. Yet aspects of this system are already being put into place, as increasing numbers of democratic republics—both American states and others abroad—adopt nonpartisan institutions for different aspects of the electoral process (whether redistricting, election administration, or the resolution of ballot-counting disputes).

Meanwhile, there is the pressing recognition that even more needs to be done in the way of building nonpartisan electoral institutions. Thus, the separation of electoral powers in both its horizontal and vertical dimensions, as well as the system of government this principle generates, can stand as a principle by which to judge the progress of democratic republics towards this evolved—and still evolving—ideal. Whether a particular state lives up to this ideal, and how soon, remains to be seen. But what is certain is that the ideal of republican government will continue to progress, as it has over the centuries. I offer the separation of electoral powers as a useful addition to that progress.

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