One expert says North Carolina should no longer be called a democracy

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North Carolina is part of the U.S. — but one political science expert says it should no longer be considered a democracy.

Professor Andrew Reynolds is a researcher for the Electoral Integrity Project.

Each year, the EIP looks at global elections and measures their fairness. This year, it also studied elections in each U.S. state, looking at things like voter registration, electoral laws and post-election response.

North Carolina was one of the lower ranked states, earning only 58 out of 100 for electoral integrity.

Learn more about North Carolina's recent contentious governor's race:

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North Carolina Governor's race
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North Carolina Governor's race

Candidates for Governor of North Carolina, from left, Democrat Roy Cooper and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, debate at WRAL studios in Raleigh, N.C., on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016.

(Chris Seward/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)

North Carolina Governor-elect Roy Cooper speaks to supporters at a victory rally the day after his Republican opponent and incumbent Pat McCrory conceded in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S., December 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Drake)

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory tells supporters that the election results of his contest against Democratic challenger Roy Cooper will be contested, while his wife Ann looks on, in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S. November 9, 2016.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Drake)

North Carolina Governor-elect Roy Cooper speaks to supporters at a victory rally the day after his Republican opponent and incumbent Pat McCrory conceded in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S., December 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Drake)

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory arrives at Trump Tower on December 7, 2016 in New York City. Potential members of President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet have been meeting with him and his transition team of the last few weeks.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, candidate for governor, speaks to supporters ahead of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina November 7, 2016.

(REUTERS/Chris Keane)

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks during a news conference at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department headquarters on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C.

(David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)

North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper speaks during Get Out the Vote at The Fillmore Charlotte on November 6, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

(Photo by Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)

Roy Cooper greets supporters during an election party hosted by the North Carolina Democratic Party at the Raleigh Marriott City Center in downtown Raleigh, N.C., on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.

(Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)

Candidates for Governor of North Carolina, from left, Libertarian Lon Cecil, Democrat Roy Cooper, and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory debate at WRAL studios in Raleigh, N.C., on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016.

(Chris Seward/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)

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In an op-ed written for The News & Observer, Reynolds said that score puts the Tar Heel State in line with pseudo-democratic countries like Cuba, Sierra Leone and Indonesia.

"If it were a nation state, North Carolina would rank right in the middle of the global league table — a deeply flawed, partly free democracy that is only slightly ahead of the failed democracies that constitute much of the developing world," Reynolds wrote.

North Carolina's voter ID law may be one reason for the low score. An appeals court struck down that law in July for being too discriminatory, especially toward racial minorities.

Another reason? After the election, outgoing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill heavily restricting the powers of his successor, Democrat Roy Cooper.

But Reynolds also says the issue extends beyond the elections, writing that North Carolina's controversial bathroom law isn't something a democratic government should do.

That law requires people who are transgender to use public restrooms corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificate.

"The first step to recovery is self-awareness," Reynolds wrote. "We need to put aside the complacent hyperbole and accept that in North Carolina we no longer live in a functioning democracy worth its name."

North Carolina wasn't the worst state according to EIP ranks, though. Eleven other states scored worse, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. Arizona scored the lowest, with a score of 53 out of 100.

Learn more about the controversial bathroom law in North Carolina:

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Protests against North Carolina transgender bathroom law
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Protests against North Carolina transgender bathroom law
ASHEVILLE, NC - JUNE 21: A display inside Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina features books by authors who support the repeal of HB2 on June 21, 2016. Malaprop's has had authors cancel and a decline in sales due to North Carolina's HB2 legislation, commonly known as the bathroom bill, and the resulting boycott of the state by authors, athletes and tourists. (Photo by Jacob Biba for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ASHEVILLE, NC - JUNE 21: A sign next to the men's bathroom inside Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina denounces North Carolina's HB2 legislation on June 21, 2016. Malaprop's has had authors cancel and a decline in sales due to North Carolina's HB2 legislation, commonly known as the bathroom bill, and the resulting boycott of the state by authors, athletes and tourists. (Photo by Jacob Biba for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ASHEVILLE, NC - JUNE 21: A bulletin board inside Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina features upcoming author visits and events scheduled for the bookstore on June 21, 2016. Malaprop's has had authors cancel and a decline in sales due to North Carolina's HB2 legislation, commonly known as the bathroom bill, and the resulting boycott of the state by authors, athletes and tourists. (Photo by Jacob Biba for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 16 - Protestors gather across the street from the North Carolina state legislative building as they voice their concerns over House Bill 2, in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, May 16, 2016. House Bill 2, also known as the Bathroom Bill, which requires transgender people to use the public restroom matching the sex on their birth certificate, has received the attention of national media and the White House. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 16 - Protestors gather across the street from the North Carolina state legislative building as they voice their concerns over House Bill 2, in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, May 16, 2016. House Bill 2, also known as the Bathroom Bill, which requires transgender people to use the public restroom matching the sex on their birth certificate, has received the attention of national media and the White House. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
DURHAM, NC - MAY 10: The 'We Are Not This' slogan is posted at the entrances to Bull McCabes Irish Pub on May 10, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina. Debate over transgender bathroom access spreads nationwide as the U.S. Department of Justice countersues North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory from enforcing the provisions of House Bill 2 (HB2) that dictate what bathrooms transgender individuals can use. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
Elaine Martin, right, listens as Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, speaks during a press conference to announce filing of federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina's HB 2 law at the LGBT Center of Raleigh on Monday, March 28, 2016. Several different advocacy groups and some of the lead plaintiffs spoke at the event. (Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
Joaquin Carcano, center, the lead plaintiff in the case, speaks during a press conference to announce filing of federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina's HB 2 law at the LGBT Center of Raleigh on Monday, March 28, 2016. Several different advocacy groups and some of the lead plaintiffs spoke at the event. Joaquin was born a woman and is now a man. Simone Bell with Lambda Law is at left; Chris Brook with the ACLU is at right. (Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
TO GO AFP STORY BY BRIGITTE DUSSEAU - Transgender delegates Jamie Shier (L) and Janice Covington pose for photographs at the Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 4, 2012. The Democratic National Convention Committee announced Wednesday that US President Barack Obama would move his acceptance speech from the outdoor Bank of America Stadium to the indoor Time Warner Cable Arena due to predictions of thunderstorms. AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read BRIGITTE DUSSEAU/AFP/GettyImages)
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