The Equal Democracy Project raises advocacy on five democracy sub-issues: voting rights, money in politics, gerrymandering, electoral reform and administration, and civic engagement.
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.
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.
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.
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 off 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.
Participation in the political process is fundamental to any functioning democracy. Compared to other democratic countries within the OECD, the United States ranks 26 of 32 in voter turnout. In addition to increasing voter turnout, we must ensure that our elected officials reflect the rich diversity of people that make up our country by encouraging individuals with identities that are sorely underrepresented in government to run for office, including women, people of color, LGBTQ+, and those from low-income backgrounds. The Equal Democracy Project supports reforms to bolster civic engagement such as making Election Day a national holiday, implementing automatic voter registration, prioritizing civics in education, and addressing barriers that inhibit marginalized groups from running for office.