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Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 10.03.18

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Our highlighted issues, actions, and events in the democracy movement this week—Please share widely.


As we transition into full campaign mode moving toward November 6, the DI Weekly Update will be changing tack to highlight the progress of our state and local campaigns in our priority states; we’re offering news, updates, and actions for our readers looking to learn more and get involved. This week we’re featuring three campaigns from two of our priority states, with a snapshot of the field, and further news and opportunities to support to come in the weeks leading up to Election Day.
For additional information and direction, contact Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org


The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition has placed a measure on the November ballot that restores the ability to vote to Floridians with nonviolent felony convictions after completing their sentence (under current Florida law, felons are permanently disenfranchised). This measure would immediately restore the ability to vote of 1.4 million people.

The campaign’s biggest hurdle is the high threshold for Florida ballot measures—the initiative needs to secure 60% of the vote in order to pass. The coalition is organizing and engaging with the communities directly affected. Recent polling shows the proposal enjoys broad bi-partisan support, with 74% of Florida voters in favor of Amendment 4 (the Voting Restoration Amendment).

The priority moving forward is to continue educating, contacting, and turning out voters to ensure they remain above the 60% mark.

Sign up to phone bank for Second Chances Florida.


Question 2 on the November 6 ballot would amend the state constitution to authorize the Maryland Legislature to enact a process for registering qualified individuals to vote at a precinct polling place on Election Day. Maryland currently allows voters to register or update their existing registration during the early voting period, but not on Election Day.

The measure got on ballot through party-line votes in both chambers of the Maryland legislature, and has not shown active opposition, giving it a strong chance to pass with voter education.

Currently, the Everyone Votes Maryland coalition's greatest needs are endorsement, preferably from groups with state chapters. The campaign also would appreciate if organizations send an email to their Maryland lists to educate their members on Question 2, and include the campaign’s commitment link (members who commit are not added to any organization’s lists). Finally, the campaign is sharing a campaign kickoff video tomorrow on their Facebook and Twitter pages, and would appreciate shares and retweets.

Fair Elections Baltimore, along with other DI partners and allies, are working on a charter amendment placed on the November ballot sponsored by Councilman Kristerfer Burnett that would establish a Fair Elections Fund along with an independent commission to identify sources of revenue for the fund. The Fund would provide Baltimore City candidates for City Council, City Comptroller, and Mayor who reject large and special interests with limited matching funds to use in their campaign.

If passed, Baltimore City would join Montgomery and Howard Counties in the establishment of a small-donor matching fund. There has not been active opposition to this ballot measure yet, and along with the Question H amendment to the state constitution to establish same-day voter registration, the amendment looks prepared for success as long as voters are aware that they need to vote the entire ballot.

The campaign would appreciate if organizations send an email to their Baltimore City lists educating their members on Question H.


  1. DI allies Women’s March, CPD Action, and others are planning civil disobedience actions at the Senate tomorrow, Thursday, October 4, with opportunities for support for those not risking arrest.
  2. MoveOn.org and allies are organizing #StopKavanaugh vigils around the country tonight, Wednesday, October 3.
  3. DI partners MoveOn.org, SEIU, and Mi Familia Vota want you to call your senator at 844-766-2707 to tell them that you #BelieveSurvivors and to #CancelKavanaugh.

In Solidarity,
The DI Team


DI partner Common Cause is holding a Week of Action from October 1 to October 5 for the Our Democracy 2018 campaign.

The Common Cause website lets activists enter their address to find out which Congressional candidates are running for their vote and for our democracy, and if they have responded to the nonpartisan Our Democracy 2018 questionnaire. If they haven't, they are listed as "No Response," and activists can contact and pressure these candidates' campaigns via email, phone, and Twitter with a few clicks, asking them to go on the record.

Take action for Our Democracy 2018.



We've extended our nomination deadline to October 15! As we begin planning our Annual Meeting on Wednesday, November 28, we’d like you to be involved. The DI Annual Meeting is an opportunity for us to gather as partners, look back on our successes and challenges in 2018, and develop strategic campaign plans for 2019.
This year, we want you to hear from you! Who is a Democracy Champion in your community or organization? Please use this link to nominate an organization or an individual for a Democracy Champion Leadership Award. Include a few sentences in support of your nominee.
If you have any questions, please contact Elsie Guerrero at 202-567-6101, or eguerrero@democracyinitiative.org