Having Our Say...Voting Rights

Our democracy is built on the idea that every citizen can participate in the electoral process and each ballot counts equally. However, barriers exist that prevent some Americans from voting, rendering our voices unequal.

We want to arrive at a democracy in which the voice of the people counts.  

In 2013, the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby Country vs. Holder struck down the key protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and  opened the door for the same discriminatory voter suppression laws Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement protested more than fifty years ago. These increasingly common barriers include restricting the types of identification and complicating the process required to register and obtain a ballot, making it harder for people with felony convictions to vote, and limiting early and absentee voting.  


We need strong protections at the local, state, and federal level of our government so it remains truly of, by, and for the people. Together, we can demand that our leaders respect the sacred trust we have placed in them and pass common-sense reforms to guarantee that every American has an equal voice in the political process. These reforms include provisions to modernize the voter registration process, such as online registration, portable registration, pre-registration, same-day registration, and automatic registration, as well as the restoration of voting rights for ex-offenders and expanded early and absentee voting. We already know that these reforms work; according to the Brennan Center, 17 states have legislation pending to follow Oregon’s landmark automatic voter registration system, and 48 states and the District of Columbia have moved forward with a measure to expand access to the ballot box. Leaders in these states recognize what millions of Americans understand: when some voices are kept out of the political process, we all miss out.


Ben and Jerry's Releases Video on Voting Rights and Congress of Conscience


Ben and Jerry's released a video on August 5 focusing on the importance of protecting the right to vote and ensuring the integrity of voting. The video was filmed during Democacy Awakening's Congress of Conscience Day of Action and features Democracy Initiative Board Member and NAACP President & CEO Cornell Brooks putting the fight for democracy into a historical perspective. Watch the video below!

DI Statement in Response to Arrests of Advocates Calling for Changes to the Voting Rights Act

Press Release

Statement by Wendy Fields, Executive Director, Democracy Initiative

In response to arrest of advocates calling for restoration of the Voting Rights Act


We at the Democracy Initative congratulate Cornell Brooks and Stephen Green on their bold act of leadership to restore voting rights. We also applaud the young people who participated in this peaceful protest to strengthen our democracy for future generations. 

Earlier this week, Cornell William... Read More

Statement by Wendy Fields, Executive Director, Democracy Initiative

Press Release

Contact: Beth Kanter (773) 551-7044, beth@spitfirestrategies.com                                                      

Today’s ruling by the federal appeals court striking down North Carolina’s racially-motivated voter identification law is reason for every Tar Heel to applaud this significant victory for democracy. And we applaud the entire team of plaintiffs in their forceful and effective take-down of this offensive law.

The... Read More

DI Statement in response to Introduction of Reform Package

Press Release

Statement by Larry Cohen, Chair, Democracy Initiative

In response to introduction of legislative package to improve political system


The introduction in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives of a comprehensive set of campaign finance reform and voter registration policies is an important victory for both the American people and our democracy.


A democracy only works when the voice of each person is heard and counted equally.... Read More

The DI Report: Democracy Awakening

DI Report

This weekend, a mass movement of thousands of activists and advocates from more than 300 labor, environment, civil rights, and faith organizations, descended on Capitol Hill for Democracy Awakening in a brilliant display of... Read More

Democracy Awakening Brings Thousands of Activists and Advocates to Rally in Washington, DC

Press Release

Washington, DC – This weekend, April 16-18, the Democracy Initiative and its endorsing organizations are participating in Democracy Awakening, bringing together thousands of members, activists, and advocates from a wide variety of backgrounds to fight for an equal and influential voice in our democracy as the power of money in politics, attacks on voting rights, and Senate obstruction over the Supreme Court... Read More

The Movement to Fix Democracy Can't Be Stopped

Press Release

Washington, DC – Regardless of the outcome of the presidential primary, it is clear voters are demanding a democracy that guarantees all Americans an equal voice. As the polls closed on Super Tuesday, nearly 12,000 activists and advocates joined a tele town hall (click here for recording) with leaders from the labor, environment, and civil rights communities to hear about ... Read More

Democracy Initiative Responds to Passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Press Release

Washington, DC – Following the unexpected passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the Democracy Initiative issued the following statement:

“The President joined the nation in mourning the loss and honoring the life of Justice Antonin Scalia, a dedicated public servant and advocate for the ideals enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. The President was clear that he intends to fulfill his constitutional responsibility to nominate a successor to Justice Scalia. He also called on... Read More

Democracy Initiative Endorsing Organizations Celebrate Passage of Voting Rights Restoration in Maryland

Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, the Maryland state Senate successfully overrode Gov. Larry Hogan’s 2015 veto of legislation (SB340 and HB 980) restoring voting rights to more than 40,000 Marylanders with significant majorities in the House of Delegates and Senate. Under the new law, Marylanders with felony convictions will be allowed to vote upon their release.   

Democracy Initiative organizations were heavily engaged in this campaign and are thrilled by the final result.... Read More

New Report Explores How Attacks on Unions, Voting Rights, & Campaign Finance Laws Part of Concerted, Anti-Democratic Effort

Press Release

Washington, DC –new report released today from the Democracy Initiative Education Fund, Democracy at a Crossroads: How the One Percent Is Silencing Our Voices, examines how the attacks on unions and the right to organize, assaults on the right to vote, and the dismantling of campaign finance laws are not isolated incidents. Instead, these events are... Read More