Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 03.21.19

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Our highlighted issues, actions, and events in the democracy movement this week—please share widely.

This week we're introducing the first column of what will be an ongoing series, where we share best practices—reforms at the state and local levels, reforms that work, and reforms that point the way forward for the democracy movement. We're accepting topics & interviews from our partners; contact Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org for pitches.
 

COLORADO VOTING MODEL SHOWS THE PATH FORWARD

Recently, we talked with Colorado Deputy Secretary of State and former Common Cause Vice President of State Operations Jenny Flanagan about Colorado’s voting model to learn more about the system, what works well, and what lessons can be lifted for other states.
Colorado has been called “the safest state for voting,” and boasts some of the most reliably high voter turnout of any state. The state’s reputation for strong elections stems from its long history of frequent, robust reform, with early voting starting back in 1996, and no-excuse absentee ballots as far back as 1980. But the current version of Colorado’s voting model really crystallized in 2013 with the passage of the Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act, which instituted a broad suite of reforms including election-day registration and a bipartisan elections modernization task force to propose election security and access reform.

H.R. 1 PIVOT TO THE SENATE AND STATE CAMPAIGNS

PIVOT TO THE SENATE

  • The anticipated date for introduction of the Senate version is March 27th, after the Senate recess.
  • The list of senators cosponsoring the bill continues to grow. Aaron Scherb at Common Cause has shared a link to the current list of supporters.
  • This week is congressional recess, so now is the time to make calls to Senators who have not yet sponsored the Senate bill.
  • TAKE ACTION:  This week and next, together with the DFAD coalition, we are driving calls to the Senate. Stand Up America has set up a coalition number to call the Senate: 888-724-8879.
    • The coalition has also drafted a sample email to encourage calls.
    • Callers will hear a quick recording on the "For the People Act" before being connected to their Senator or the switchboard.
       

STATE CAMPAIGNS

  • A small group is developing a democracy reform state campaigns tracker tool for partners. Tool will go public soon.
  • The Brennan Center released their 2019 Voting Laws Round Up this week. Here is a link to the update.

VICTORIES AT THE GRASSROOTS

NEW MEXICO PASSES A SUITE OF DEMOCRACY REFORMS
Congratulations to Brennan Center, Common Cause New Mexico, Working Families New Mexico, and all coalition allies for their work to make New Mexico the 17th state to pass Election Day Registration. NM lawmakers also passed automatic voter registration, national popular vote, expanded the campaign public financing program, and other reforms. The bills now head to the governor's desk, and are expected to be signed.
 
 
DELAWARE BECOMES 13TH STATE TO SIGN NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE COMPACT
Congratulations to ACLU, Common Cause Delaware, League of Women Voters of Delaware, and all coalition allies who worked to pass this crucial bill to revitalize democracy.
 
 
BILL TO REPEAL CITIZENS UNITED PASSES NEW HAMPSHIRE HOUSE
Congratulations to American Promise and the volunteer citizen leaders, activists, and allies that worked to pass HB 504, an incredible opportunity to make New Hampshire the 20th state calling for the historic 28th Amendment. Now, activists turn to the Senate and are driving calls to NH Senators to support the Senate version of the bill.

DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE UPDATES

DI WELCOMES CHRISTOPHER HONEY, COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIST
The DI is excited to welcome a new Communications Strategist, Christopher Honey. Christopher joins the DI on April 1, most recently working as Communications Director for SEIU Local 500 in Gaithersburg, MD. Christopher is a talented communications professional bringing more than 20 years of experience to the DI, ranging from labor, enviro, and political strategy. During those two decades, he has worked for a number of non-profits and advocacy organizations including Sierra Club in Florida, as the California State Political Director for Progressive Majority, and for Revolution Messaging.
As Communications Strategist, Christopher will be tasked with working to update our overarching democracy messaging frame, manage and maintain our website and social media channels, and most importantly working to support the DI network and our partners’ communication efforts. This critical role includes developing and adapting coalition messaging to connect with our DI partners’ issue priorities, as well as helping to uplift and amplify our partners’ voices in the press and online. We’re excited for Christopher to join the DI Team.
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DI BIDS FAREWELL TO MYKE BYBEE, CAMPAIGNS DIRECTOR
While we welcome in new staff, we also must say goodbye to our current Campaigns Director, Myke Bybee. Over the past year, Myke has worked to organize and manage the coalition. He played a key leadership role in supporting our DI partners and local stakeholders to secure important democracy wins in Michigan, Maryland, Florida, and Missouri. In the past several months, Myke has worked with DI partners to strengthen and ultimately support the historic passage of H.R. 1.
Myke is moving back to the parks and public land space, as Legislative Director at the Trust for Public Land. We’re appreciative of his work and leadership over the past year, and we wish him well on his next adventure at the Trust.

PARTNER CORNER—TAKE ACTIOn

TAKE ON WALL STREET RELEASES NEW FINANCIALIZATION EXPLAINER VIDEO
Check out this new, informative 5 minute video that tells the stories of white, Black, and Brown working families who have paid the price for Wall Street buying our democracy in the form of rent hikes, toxic mold, and layoffs.
Spread this video or the shortened version on social media using this toolkit.

DAILY KOS COALITION ACTIONS
Daily Kos is looking for coalition organizations to partner with some of the Actions they're runninghere's the current list:

Feel free to contact Daily Kos with any questions.

DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

DEMOCRACY INITIATIVESUMMER INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
The Democracy Initiative, a dynamic network of 71 organizations, representing 45 million members, is seeking a talented grassroots mobilizing intern to join our team. Working under the supervision of the campaign team, the Grassroots mobilizing Intern will assist with message development, organizing campaigns, training, and mobilizing democracy issues to our partners. This is a paid internship.

Click here to see the full posting.

The Democracy Initiative is also seeking a talented communications intern to join our team. Working under the supervision of the Communications Strategist, the Communications Intern will assist with message development and implementation, social media engagement, and online mobilizations for our diverse issue partners. This is a paid internship.

Click here to see the full posting.

DI partners are encouraged to recommend qualified, diverse candidates!

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