Equal Democracy Project focuses on several democracy-related issues: civic discourse, civic participation, electoral reform and administration, gerrymandering, money in politics, and voting rights.
A strong democracy requires a well-informed and engaged public that debates, questions, and, when necessary, challenges those in power. Good-faith public discourse among those with diverse perspectives enables a government that is more responsive to and aligned with the interests of the public. Every individual should be able to speak and be heard without coercion or suppression. However, civic discourse can be strained and distorted by facets of modern life—including social media, opinion news programming, and misinformation—which undermine notions of shared, objective facts on which the public can rely. The Equal Democracy Project is dedicated to supporting principles of good-faith discourse in a fair and accessible public square, and it supports reforms that will help achieve this goal.
Participation in the political process is fundamental to any functioning democracy, but voter turnout in the United States consistently ranks far below that of comparable democracies. Participation at the ballot box and beyond ensures that elected officials reflect the full range of interests and priorities of their constituents. At the same time, we must ensure that our elected officials reflect the rich diversity of the people that make up our country by encouraging participation and alleviating barriers for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to not only vote but also run for office. The Equal Democracy Project supports reforms that make it easier to participate in civic life, such as prioritizing civic education, making Election Day a national holiday, implementing automatic voter registration, implementing automatic voter registration, prioritizing civic education, and addressing barriers that inhibit marginalized groups from running for office.
Electoral Reform & Administration
Voter participation is only as effective as the system in which citizens cast their votes. Our current election administration system suffers from long wait lines, insecure ballot boxes, and a lack of poll worker support. More broadly, our electoral system fails to produce outcomes that accurately reflect the will of the people, forcing voters to “vote strategically” instead of their true preferences, as well as allowing the popular-vote winner of the presidency to still lose the election. The Equal Democracy Project supports increasing investment in election administration, adopting ranked choice voting, and abolishing the electoral college.
In order for our democracy to be truly equal, everyone’s vote must carry the same weight. However, politicians effectively divest citizens of their equal voting power by drawing contrived district maps to maintain their party’s electoral dominance. This gerrymandering leads to a composition of lawmakers in federal and state legislatures that looks nothing like the popular vote of their constituents. The Equal Democracy Project supports reforms to eliminate the distorting influence of gerrymandering so that we may realize one of the most basic principles of our democracy: one person, one vote.
Money in Politics
Elections should be won, not bought. Wealthy donors, corporations, and other special interest groups substitute money for votes, distorting representation and corrupting our democracy. A government more responsive to money than the millions it serves neglects the voice of the people. Money decides who runs, who matters, who wins, and, subsequently, the laws that pass. The Equal Democracy Project is dedicated to returning power to the people by strengthening candidate accountability rules, increasing transparency in donor reporting, closing the revolving door between legislators and lobbyists, and supporting substantive campaign finance reforms that reduce the influence of money in politics.
Voting is the lifeblood of any democracy. Yet state legislatures across the country are working systematically to prevent citizens from voting. Under the guise of election security, these tactics include exact-match ID requirements, voter roll purges, reduced absentee and early voting opportunities. These restrictive measures arbitrarily hinder citizens—especially Black, brown, and low-income Americans—from exercising their right to vote. Moreover, millions of Americans are excluded from the democratic process due to criminal disenfranchisement laws. The Equal Democracy Project is committed to fully enfranchising individuals involved in the criminal justice system and to ensuring that all Americans have fair access to the ballot.