This book documents a worrisome gap between principles and practice in democratic governance. The State of Access is a comparative, cross-disciplinary exploration of the ways in which democratic institutions fail or succeed to create the equal opportunities that they have promised to deliver to the people they serve. In theory, rules and regulations may formally guarantee access to democratic processes, public services, and justice. But reality routinely disappoints, for a number of reasons -exclusionary policymaking, insufficient attention to minorities, underfunded institutions, inflexible bureaucracies. The State of Access helps close the gap between the potential and performance in democratic governance.