The DI Report

Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 10.18.18

Thursday, October 18, 2018
Our highlighted issues, actions, and events in the democracy movement this week—Please share widely.

WHAT YOUR MEMBERS CAN DO NOW

VOTER SUPPRESSION

We're asking partners to distribute our "Know Your Rights" Georgia one-pager to combat rampant misinformation and ensure all Georgians have a voice this November.
With just three weeks to go until the midterm elections, Republicans are ramping up their voter suppression efforts. Attempts to systematically silence black and brown voters have a long history in US politics, from Jim Crow to recent methods including voter ID, racial and partisan gerrymandering, and voter roll purges. This year, we are seeing an unprecedented Republican effort to purge voters directly in response to the major GOTV effort sweeping the country. The coordinated and well-funded attacks on our voting rights are sponsored by the same people who want to roll back our rights on the other issues that matter to us.
One of the worst examples of racist voter suppression occurring right now is in Georgia, where Secretary of State Brian Kemp is in a close race for governor against Stacey Abrams. Today, less than a month before the election, Kemp is blocking 53,000 voter registrations, 70% of which are from black voters!
Elsewhere, the Supreme Court upheld a North Dakota court ruling that effectively disenfranchises large swaths of the Native American population, and recent investigative journalism by Greg Palast uncovered a postcard purging scheme that dropped 90,000 Nevadan voters a week before the voter registration deadline.
Longtime democracy advocate Miles Rapoport offers a snapshot of the current state of voting rights, and a crucial overview of recent victories, in his latest for American Prospect.

CAMPAIGNS


Below are important ways for you to help in Florida, from your own couch!

  1. Help spread the word about our Yes on 4 Early Voting Ice Cream Socials in partnership with Ben & Jerry's.
  2. Recruit people to attend the Super-Saturday canvas day this Saturday, October 20.
  3. Recruit remote callers, based anywhere in the country, especially for the October 27 Day of Action Call Parties.
  4. Amplify the campaign’s social media posts on Twitter and Facebook.

To date, the Second Chances Florida campaign has contacted more than 1 million voters, via text, phone calls, and at the door. Vote-by-mail in Florida has started! Early voting starts as early as next Monday in many counties. With just three weeks left until Election Day, here are ways that we can all help ensure that Second Chances Florida passes Amendment 4—to restore the eligibility to vote to 1.4 million people.

VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT

ELECTION PROTECTION HOTLINE | 866-OUR-VOTE
We're asking our partners to urge their members to get involved in Election Day organizing in their communities, like volunteering with the Election Protection Coalition as a poll monitor.
  • Sample recruitment emails can be found here. Everyone that signs up will get a follow up email listing upcoming trainings, legal command center information, and confirmation of election day assignments.
  • You can download social media graphics are available here.

SIERRA CLUB MICHIGAN CANVASSING
Sierra Club Michigan and Fems for Change are planning a day of canvassing for Proposals 2 and 3 on Saturday, October 20, from 1-4pm EDT. Sign up here.

Sierra Club is also pushing a Tuesday, October 23 Phone Banking event for Proposals 2 and 3 in Michigan from 6-8pm EDT. Sign up here.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS

SIERRA CLUB UNVEILS GET OUT THE VOTE VIDEO WITH GEN Z ACTIVISTS
DI partner Sierra Club partners with filmmaker Darren Aronofsky to produce a GOTV video that asks 15 Generation Z activists what they're voting for this election. Share the video on all social media channels as you prepare to mobilize your lists!

Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 10.10.18

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Our highlighted issues, actions, and events in the democracy movement this week—Please share widely.

KAVANAUGH APPOINTMENT: A MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE

DI Executive Director Wendy Fields' recent statement on the Kavanaugh appointment to the Supreme Court:
Make no mistake: Saturday’s decision by Senators Collins, Manchin, and 49 of their colleagues to support Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court is a miscarriage of justice and fairness. Brett Kavanaugh’s behavior as a person, a judge, and a nominee would be unacceptable were it not for his race and class position. But 51 bad choices today will not diminish decades of hard work to make our voices heard and our issues matter. We will not let this moment tear us down; instead we will use it to build a bigger platform—for good jobs, fair pay, and basic benefits like paid sick time to care for ourselves and our families. We will double down on exercising our right to vote and our demand for a government that works for us and not special interests. Because the more women are a force to be reckoned with, the likelier we are to keep a travesty like today’s from happening again.

—WENDY FIELDS | EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE, OCT. 6 2018

DI PRIORITY CAMPAIGNS

MISSOURI
CLEAN MISSOURI AMENDMENT

You can make a difference in the Missouri campaign right now: The Missouri campaign’s greatest needs at the moment are for organizations to send out awareness and fundraising emails to their Missouri lists, to raise awareness and educate their members on Amendment 1. Clean Missouri has prepared sample emails and a general partner toolkit to facilitate your engagement. Additionally, the campaign would appreciate organizations sharing their recent voter education video.

Here's a campaign snapshot to share with your members:
The “Clean Missouri” campaign is a diverse coalition of workers, students, seniors and their families who are fighting for good-paying jobs, and holding accountable the extremist politicians who insist on attacking workers instead of creating jobs. The coalition is fighting to ensure elected leaders help create the kind of good jobs that pay a fair wage and help give Missouri’s children the education they need to have a better life—not exploit their teachers, the workers rebuilding Missouri’s communities after natural disasters, nurses and firefighters—the people that make Missouri work every day.

The coalition’s Clean Missouri Amendment to the Missouri State Constitution tackles both redistricting and ethics reform. The amendment will enact the following, if voted into law: 1) change process and criteria for redrawing state legislative districts during reapportionment; 2) change limits on campaign contributions that candidates can accept in legislative races from individuals or groups; 3) establish a $5 limit that state legislators, and their employees, can accept from paid lobbyists; 4) require politicians to wait two years before becoming lobbyists; 5) prohibit political fundraising by candidates for members of the state legislature on State property; and 6) require legislative records and proceedings to be open to the public.

The majority of opposition to the amendment comes from elected leaders through earned media. This campaign is poised for success based on its collaboration with other campaigns in the state and their ties to the winning coalition that defeated Missouri’s anti-union “Right to Work” law in August.

HAVE YOU SIGNED THE VOTING RIGHTS PETITION YET?


Our thanks to AFL-CIO, MoveOn.org, Corporate Accountability International, AAI, Center for Environmental Health, Common Cause, Sierra Club, CWA, and ReThink Media for sharing the petition and their commitment to voting rights.
The Kavanaugh nomination battle has illustrated this truth clearer than any metaphor: elections have consequences. Now more than ever, voting rights are under threat. Kavanaugh’s hostility to voting rights is well documented, and his unstable temperament and blatant disregard for the facts was on display during his hearing. Organizing around the defense of our voting rights is now a fundamental objective in the fight to protect and expand our democracy. As the indomitable Shirley Chisholm once said: Defeat should not be the source of discouragement, but a stimulus to keep plotting.
We need you, and your members, to commit your signatures. We’ve extended our deadline to October 15 before delivering signatures to your elected officials. Why? Because we’ll never win on our own issues if we can’t win on this issue. Sign the petition and send a message to Kavanaugh, the senators who installed him, and the wealthy interests that spent over $7 million on his nomination: #DONTMESSWITHOURVOTE.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS

NAACP PARTNERS WITH WEtv IN MULTI-PLATFORM EFFORT TO GET OUT THE VOTE
NEW YORK, NY, October 4, 2018—WEtv, the #1 cable network for African-American viewers on Thursday nights, announced the launch of a new campaign produced in partnership with the NAACP that encourages its viewers to make their voices heard by voting on November 6. The non-partisan effort features WEtv talent delivering the “get out the vote” message that underscores the importance of participating in the democratic process and emphasizes that together with the NAACP, we make a difference.

Viewers are directed to NAACP.Org/Vote for more information. In addition to WEtv platforms, the NAACP will also distribute the campaign via its Twitter, Instagramand Facebook accounts, and naacp.org/vote will serve as a hub for resources and information regarding voting.

COMMON CAUSE EDUCATION FUND REPORT ON ELECTION SECURITY
Today, DI partners and allies Common Cause Education Fund (CCEF), the National Election Defense Coalition, R St, ACM, and the US Technology Policy Committee released a report outlining the serious and unaddressed threat to the integrity of the nation’s elections and democracy posed by the continued use of online voting in 32 states. The report highlights that at the very least 100,000 ballots were reported to have been cast online in the 2016 general election. The report, “Email and Internet Voting: The Overlooked Threat to Election Security,” will be released during a press teleconference at 11:30am EDT.

The report examines the threats faced by various forms of online voting including blockchain internet voting, which is being used in West Virginia this election cycle. Due to the extensive vulnerabilities, the report emphasizes that online voting must be discontinued completely by 2020, and recommends short-term best practices for voters and elections officials in the 2018 election. Experts in the private sector, government and military have studied the feasibility of internet-based voting for years and concluded that it isn’t secure and should be curtailed.

You can access the report on the micro-site the CCEF staff created at http://internetvotingthreat.org. If you have any questions about CCEF’s election security program, you can contact Susannah Goodman, CCEF Director of Election Security and coauthor of this report at sgoodman@commoncause.org.

DEMOCRACY IN THE NEWS

Selected democracy news from the past week.

DON'T BE SHY! NOMINATE A DEMOCRACY CHAMPION!

We've extended our nomination deadline to October 15! We have some great nominees; many of you do great work in the progressive movement. Lift up your leaders and your organizations who've made the difference! We want you to hear from you!
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

SAVE THE DATE: DI ANNUAL MEETING 2018

MOBILIZATION & COLLABORATION

2018 Expanded Mobilizing Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST

There is growing momentum to clean up Missouri politics. In September, Missourians overwhelmingly voted to defeat an anti-union 'Right to Work" law. In a couple weeks, Missouri voters will head to the polls to decide the fate of the Clean Missouri initiative.

Join us on Wednesday, October 17th at 3pm EST to hear from Clean Missouri campaign manager Sean Nicholson about the initiative, the collaborative work with labor, environmental, civil rights, and faith groups, and how your organization help in the final stretch of the campaign. 

For more information and to RSVP, contact Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org.

DI Communications Working Group
Next Meeting Thursday, October 18th at 1pm.

The communications working group is our collaborative space for message refinement and development for our current field work. We need your skills. These monthly meetings also help to resource partner organizations for ongoing local and national campaigns and coordinate messaging and communications as a coalition.

RSVP to apohl@democracyinitiative.org.

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.

DI PRIORITY CAMPAIGNS

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

FLORIDA

FLORIDA SECOND CHANCES AMENDMENT
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.

MARYLAND

ELECTION DAY VOTER REGISTRATION
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.

BALTIMORE CITY FAIR ELECTIONS FUND
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.

#CANCELKAVANAUGH UPDATES

ACTIONS
  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

TAKE ACTION

COMMON CAUSE—TAKE ACTION FOR OUR DEMOCRACY 2018
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.

DEMOCRACY IN THE NEWS

KNOW A DEMOCRACY CHAMPION? NOMINATE ONE!

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

SAVE THE DATE: DI ANNUAL MEETING 2018

Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 09.26.18

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Our highlighted issues, actions, and events in the democracy movement this week—Please share widely.

SCOTUS UPDATE: #CANCELKAVANAUGH

Democracy Initiative Executive Director Wendy Fields on the new lawsuit against Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh:


As more women step forward to speak their truth about Kavanaugh, the DI is providing a couple resources and actions for people who want to get involved in the fight against Kavanaugh at all levels:
 
  1. Women's March is coordinating a nonviolent, national day of action TOMORROW, Thursday, September 27 at 12:30pm to show up in full force to demand the Senate #CancelKavanaugh. Click here for more information.
  2. DI partner AFL-CIO asks you to call your senator to stop the vote on Kavanaugh. Take action here.
  3. Today, DI partner Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a historic lawsuit on behalf of Sen. Merkley against President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Charles Grassley to secure an injunction to stop the hearing process and #CancelKavanaugh. Read the press statement here.

In Solidarity,

The DI Team

DI LEADERS ON THE MOVE

NAACP PRESIDENT DERRICK JOHNSON CALLS FOR KAVANAUGH'S WITHDRAWAL
President and CEO of the NAACP Derrick Johnson released a statement today calling for the White House to withdraw Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination after new allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced:
 

 

“Today, new allegations have been made regarding Brett Kavanaugh’s abuse and violence toward women and girls. The Senate Judiciary Committee has committed a grave breach of the public trust in refusing to investigate these and all other claims promptly and thoroughly. Survivors of sexual violence who have spoken truth to power deserve much better than this from our elected officials. The Senate confirmation process has become a farce. It is past time for the White House to withdraw Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. The integrity and legitimacy of the Supreme Court are at stake. History will judge us harshly if this nomination proceeds.”

DI PARTNER CORNER

CLEAN MISSOURI WILL APPEAR ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT
Amendment 1 is on the November ballot in Missouri thanks to the efforts of DI ally Clean Missouri! Opponents of the amendment, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, sued to take the initiative off the ballot, but the Missouri Supreme Court declined to hear the case, meaning that the appellate court’s ruling in favor of Clean Missouri stands. The Clean Missouri Coalition has passed its latest hurdle and is now preparing for the final push heading into November.

Read more here.

DAY OF ACTION: SECOND CHANCES FLORIDA VIRTUAL CALLING
Floridians convicted of a felony are barred for life from voting—meaning 1.4 million Floridians who’ve completed their full sentence can’t participate in the democratic process. This November is an opportunity to fix this broken system, with Amendment 4, the Voting Restoration Amendment, which allows voters to restore the eligibility to vote to their friends, family and neighbors who have completed their full sentence.

On October 1, Second Chances Florida is kicking-off our Get Out The Vote campaign by calling Florida voters who Vote-By-Mail to give them a head’s up that ballots drop on October 2, encourage them to vote #Yeson4, and ask them to return their ballots as soon as possible.

Sign up to make GOTV calls from anywhere in the country on October 1st to support Second Chances for 1.4 million Floridians.

KNOW A DEMOCRACY CHAMPION? NOMINATE ONE!

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. The deadline to submit nominations is September 21, 2018.
If you have any questions, please contact Elsie Guerrero at 202-567-6101, or eguerrero@democracyinitiative.org

SAVE THE DATE: DI ANNUAL MEETING 2018

Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 09.20.18

Thursday, September 20, 2018
Our highlighted issues, actions, and events in the democracy movement this week—Please share widely.

SCOTUS: INVESTIGATE NOW—MEN DON'T GET TO DECIDE

Democracy Initiative Executive Director Wendy Fields on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh:

The Democracy Initiative stands with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and applauds her incredible courage to come forward to speak her truth. We also want to echo Sen. Hirono's challenge:


In light of what's at stake in this #MeToo moment, the DI is providing a few resources for people who want to get involved in the fight against Kavanaugh:

  1. Women's March is planning a nonviolent, direct action in Washington DC on Monday, September 24 to show the Senate #WeBelieveChristine and demand that they #CancelKavanaugh and vote no on his confirmation. Click here.
  2. DI partner Friends of the Earth asks you to tell your senator to stop the vote on Kavanaugh. Sign the petition.
  3. Read President and Executive Director of DI partner Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Kristen Clarke's op-ed with former US District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin on the the ugly double standard over Kavanaugh's so-called youth, discussing the gendered and racial implications of arguments defending Kavanaugh.
  4. Sign DI partner Common Cause's petition to put the brakes on Kavanaugh's appointment.

In Solidarity,
The DI Team

FB LIVE: MOBILIZING FOR LABOR AND VOTING RIGHTS

DI Executive Director Wendy Fields and the AFL-CIO Civil, Human, and Women's Rights Director Nakisha Lewis will join a FB live discussion—hosted by the Declaration For American Democracy coalition—TODAY, Thursday, September 20, at 6pm. They will discuss threats to voting rights, how protecting and improving access to the ballot connects to AFL-CIO’s key issues, and provide key resources for people to get involved.

To watch and join the discussion, visit https://www.facebook.com/DeclarationforAmericanDemocracy/ at 6pm tonight.

NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY TOOLKIT


National Voter Registration Day is less than a week away! Here are some tools to help you organize and spread the word:

SHOW OUR COLLECTIVE POWER: SIGN THE VOTING RIGHTS PETITION!
This November, 26 million young people, women, and people of color who voted in 2016 are predicted to not turn out to vote. We need these 26 million voices to be heard. We need ALL of our voices to be heard. Let’s prove them wrong. In the 21st century, we should have a democracy that is built on the basic principle of maximum participation.

On National Voter Registration Day, we want you to sign and distribute the petition with your members, and join us to stand up for our voting rights and a stronger democracy. Our petition engagement guide can be found here. To get involved, contact Getachew at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org.

To tweet a link to our petition on NVRD, click here!

VOTER REGISTRATION DAY TOOLSRESTORATION OF RIGHTS MAKES A DIFFERENCE
17 million people with former felony convictions are eligible register to vote right now, but many do not know their rights. DI partner Campaign Legal Center has developed Restore Your Vote to provide information and resources to help those with past convictions reclaim their right to vote. The tool will be updated with information from all 50 states. Share this tool widely to ensure everyone who is eligible can vote. Disenfranchisement affects everybody.

DI PARTNER CORNER

SIGN UP FOR ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE'S LEADERSHIP SUMMIT
Democracy Initiative is proud to join DI partner Arab American Institute (AAI) for their upcoming Fall 2018 National Leadership Summit, Our America: Harness Power, Change Policy. The summit will bring together passionate advocates for civil rights and civil liberties from every community to address policy issues that impact the Arab American and allied communities.
AAI hosts two gatherings: one in Dearborn, Michigan on Saturday, September 22 at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and the second in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday, September 24 at The Carter Center. Democracy Initiative’s Executive Director Wendy Fields will be in Atlanta discussing gerrymandering and its toll on democracy. Sign up here!

VERIZON LEAVES ALEC AFTER COLLECTIVE ACTION
On September 15, Verizon announced that it will be leaving the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, in response to scrutiny generated by a letter from DI partners and allies that denounced ALEC and its association with David Horowitz, famous for bigotry and his platforming of white nationalists.

The letter successfully put Verizon on notice: “Make no mistake, your continued financial support of ALEC is an endorsement of this dangerous vision for our country.” Verizon’s departure from ALEC marks a major victory against special interests, and shows us what we’re capable of when we stand together to pressure the powerful into listening to the people.

Read more here.

DARK MONEY GROUPS NOW MUST DISCLOSE DONORS
The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, September 18 to let stand a lower court ruling compelling political nonprofits to disclose the names of donors who’ve contributed over $200 to groups advocating for politicians. The temporary action likely comes in order to stall while the Supreme Court can reach a final resolution on the case, which is under appeal. But for now, the ruling is a major victory for transparency and accountability.

Read more here.

DI LEADERS ON THE MOVE

ANNIE LEONARD VIDEO INTERVIEW ON CLIMATE AND DEMOCRACY
DI Board Member and Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard was recently in an interview with The Real News Network’s Dharna Noor talking about the crisis facing our climate and our democracy.
“We need to be building power and we need to be getting corporate money out of our political system, because our democracy should be the best tool that we have to advance solutions, and we just can’t use it because it’s been hijacked by special interests.”
—Annie Leonard

You can watch the full interview here.

KNOW A DEMOCRACY CHAMPION? NOMINATE ONE

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.
Last year, as part of the Annual Meeting, the DI honored two organizations and one individual with our first ever Democracy Champion awards, given to those who have gone above and beyond in the fight to strengthen our democracy.
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. The deadline to submit nominations is September 21, 2018.
If you have any questions, please contact Elsie Guerrero at 202-567-6101, or eguerrero@democracyinitiative.org

SAVE THE DATE: DI ANNUAL MEETING 2018

 

Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 09.13.18

Thursday, September 13, 2018
Our highlighted issues, actions, and events in the democracy movement this week—Please share widely.

CWA PRESIDENT CHRISTOPHER M. SHELTON JOINS THE DI BOARD

CWA President Christopher Shelton, who is deeply committed to democracy and addressing money in politics, has joined the Democracy Initiative board.
Christopher Shelton was elected president of the Communications Workers of America by acclamation by delegates to the union’s 75th convention on June 8, 2015.

Prior to his election as president, Shelton served as vice president of CWA District 1, representing 160,000 members in more than 300 CWA locals in New Jersey, New York and New England.

Shelton started his union career when he went to work for New York Telephone in 1968 as an outside technician. He was elected a CWA Local 1101 shop steward in 1968 and served Local 1101 in various positions until December 1988 when he joined the CWA national staff.

"I'm honored to join the Democracy Initiative board. CWA members are committed to working to get corporate money out of politics and to making the American political
process work for working families. Restoring our democracy is a core value or CWA members, and it is a core part of what the Democracy Initiative does. Together with our allies, we will fight back against the corporate special interests that have corrupted our democratic process." —Christopher Shelton, President of CWA

SAVE THE DATE: DI ANNUAL MEETING 2018

PRIORITY STATE CAMPAIGNS

BALTIMORE FAIR ELECTIONS CAMPAIGN KICKOFF - MARYLAND

A coalition that includes a number of DI partners and allies, including the NAACP, Maryland PIRG, and Common Cause, and is chaired by Rev. Kobi Little of the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP, is leading the way on the Baltimore City Fair Elections Fund. The Fund, on the November ballot as Question H, would grant matching dollars for small donations to candidates who don't accept large and corporate contributions. The goal of the ballot initiative is to curb the influence of big money in Baltimore City elections. The campaign kickoff will take place on Thursday, September 27th.

For more information, and to RSVP, go here.

VOTING RIGHTS ON THE BALLOT IN NOVEMBER - MICHIGAN
On September 6, Promote the Vote Michigan's voting rights ballot initiative cleared its latest hurdle when the Michigan Board of Canvassers voted unanimously to approve the initiative for the November ballot. Next, Promote the Vote will submit their 100-word ballot description before moving forward with their work to expand the vote for all Michiganders. DI partners at Sierra Club, Flint Rising, and UAW are making phone calls, knocking doors, and organizing town hall meetings in support of voting rights and Promote the Vote.

You can read more here.

TAKE ACTION

HAVE YOU SIGNED THE PETITION?
We're fewer than 60 days away from the election, and it's more important than ever to stand together for a stronger democracy. It’s crucial that we send a message: “Don’t Mess With Our Vote!”
Sign and distribute the petition with your members. Our petition engagement guide can be found here. To get involved, contact Getachew at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org.


RESTORE YOUR VOTE TOOL
17 million people who've served their time are eligible register to vote right now, but many do not know their rights. DI partner Campaign Legal Center has developed Restore Your Vote to provide information and resources to help those with past convictions reclaim their right to vote. The tool will be updated with information from all 50 states. Share this tool widely as we approach these critical midterm elections. Disenfranchisement affects everybody.

DEMOCRACY IS ON THE BALLOT IN 2018
DI anchor partner Common Cause's campaign Our Democracy 2018 continues to use people power to get candidates on the record for democracy reform. Now live in nearly every state, 244 Congressional candidates have responded—209 Dems; 22 GOP. 52 of these responses are incumbents.

Common Cause is gearing up for a Day of Action on October 2 for partners to reach out to their lists to drive traffic to https://democracy2018.org. To take action, visit their campaign website and use their toolkit to send a message to your elected officials.

NEWS FROM PARTNERS

STRIKING PRISONERS WILL CONTINUE TO AGITATE FOR RIGHT TO VOTE
One of the largest national prison strikes in U.S. history ended last week after 19 days. On the prisoners' list of demands, number 10 reads "The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so called 'ex-felons' must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count." Now that the strike has ended, organizers believe the strongest push moving forward will be on this demand for voting rights.

One of the organizers, Eddie, who did not give his real name for fear of facing the reprisals other organizers have faced, said “It lets me know that I’m not truly a citizen. I will have no say in the political process or the direction of the nation.” This prison strike speaks to that for which thousands of people with felony convictions have also raised their voices: the right to vote. All Americans need to exercise their fundamentally democratic right to vote for a strong democracy. Restoring the right to vote to Americans who have served their time is inseparable from the other voting reforms essential to the fight for our democracy.

You can read more here. Our partner MoveOn created this video about the significance of the strike.

Mobilization & Collaboration    

2018 Expanded Mobilizing Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST

For the past 17 years, the Election Protection coalition has been mobilizing thousands of volunteers to help voters navigate the voting process and cast their votes without obstruction, confusion, or intimidation. Today, the Election Protection coalition includes engagement from more than 100 national, state, and locally-based organizations around the country that are committed to ensuring access to democracy.

The Lawyers Committee and Common Cause will join us on our next bi-weekly DI Mobilizing Meeting Wednesday, September 19 at 3pm EST to discuss this year's Election Protection program and connect organizations to opportunities to collaborate during the 2018 election cycle.

For more information and to RSVP, contact Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org.

DI Communications Working Group

Next Meeting Thursday, September 20th at 1pm.

The communications working group is our collaborative space for message refinement and development for our current field work. We need your skills. These monthly meetings also help to resource partner organizations for ongoing local and national campaigns and coordinate messaging and communications as a coalition.

RSVP to apohl@democracyinitiative.org.

Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 08.29.18

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
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Our highlighted issues, actions, and events in the democracy movement this week—Please share widely.

SAVE THE DATE: DI ANNUAL MEETING 2018

A STRONG DEMOCRACY NEEDS A STRONG LABOR MOVEMENT

As we approach the Labor Day Weekend, we at the Democracy Initiative want to take a moment to express our appreciation for the hard working women and men of the labor movement. Our labor partners, with support from many allies, have experienced some recent victories in the face of constant attacks, like the terrible Janus Supreme Court decision. One major win was when Missouri voters overwhelmingly defeated Right to Work, and affirmed the right to organize in their state, including their right to collectively bargain. Also, recently, a federal judge struck down parts of Trump’s executive orders that attempted to weaken and undermine the representation of federal workers. That executive order would have made it easier to fire employees, and would have limited the ability of union members to support candidates who share our values across the country.

We and DI partners share a core principle; we cannot have a strong and healthy democracy without a strong labor movement that can set decent economic standards and safe working conditions for us all. So rest up this weekend, as the fight continues.

JOin FB LIVE ON STATE OF DEMOCRACY in FLINT, MI

Come be a part of the education campaign from the national effort called Declaration For American Democracy (DFAD). We’re helping to build a grassroots effort to highlight a package of democracy reforms solutions we need to fix our democracy.
On August 30 at 6pm EST, we’re supporting a Facebook live on the topic of gerrymandering, voting rights, and how the current state of democracy in Michigan has made it difficult to hold state legislators accountable for the Flint water crisis.
Here is the Facebook page for DFAD, where you will be able to join the Facebook live discussion. Please share this information with your members.

TAKE ACTION

ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE NATIONAL LEADERSHIP SUMMIT
On September 22 and 24, the Arab American Institute Foundation is hosting summits in Detroit and Atlanta to tell the complex story of one America: a country with varying regional, and shared federal, policy challenges. Activists, change-makers, and thought-leaders from various backgrounds and expertise from across the country will come together to produce a definitive shared vision for the future. You can register here. For more information, contact Heba at hmohammad@aaiusa.org.
COALITION ORGANIZES TO PROTECT RIGHT TO PROTEST
DI Board Member Annie Leonard of Greenpeace USA is a leading partner in the Protect the Protest Task Force effort against groups that use legal action and threat of financial risk to silence criticism and protest.

Join us at our bi-weekly mobilizing meeting on Wednesday, September 19; you can learn more information and ways to get involved. RSVP with Getachew at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org.

DEMOCRACY IS ON THE BALLOT IN 2018
DI anchor partner Common Cause launched their Our Democracy 2018 campaign to ensure that our elected officials protect our democracy.
To take action, visit their campaign website and use their toolkit to send a message to your elected officials.
HIP HOP CAUCUS PLANS FINAL 60 DAY PUSH FOR RESPECT MY VOTE!
DI partner Hip Hop Caucus is launching their final Respect My Vote! voter registration and mobilization on September 6, with a focus on Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Hip Hop Caucus will be collaborating with influencers to share content on Hip Hop Caucus social media channels. Follow @HipHopCaucus and stay tuned for more information.

RESTORE YOUR VOTE

17 million people who've served their time are eligible register to vote right now, but many do not know their rights. DI partner Campaign Legal Center has developed Restore Your Vote to provide information and resources to help those with past convictions reclaim their right to vote. The tool will be updated with information from all 50 states. Share this tool widely as we approach these critical midterm elections. Disenfranchisement affects everybody.

HAVE YOU SIGNED THE PETITION?

We're fewer than 70 days away from the election, and it's more important than ever to stand together for a stronger democracy. It’s crucial that we send a message: “Don’t Mess With Our Vote!”
Please sign and distribute the petition with your members. Our petition engagement guide can be found here. To get involved, contact Getachew at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org.


NEWS FROM PARTNERS

VICTORY IN NORTH CAROLINA AGAINST GERRYMANDERING
Congratulations to DI anchor partner Common Cause and allies on their victory in North Carolina against partisan gerrymandering. A federal court ruled that NC's congressional map violates the U.S. Constitution on three counts. Common Cause v. Rucho also satisfies the standing requirements set out in an earlier gerrymandering case heard by the Supreme Court in June, making it the strongest anti-gerrymandering case going forward. The case will likely be heard in 2019.

Read more.

FLORIDA HAS HIGHEST VOTER TURNOUT SINCE 2002
According to reporting from the Florida Secretary of State's office, voter turnout for yesterday's primaries was at its highest since 2002 at 27.34%. Thanks to effective voting rights policies like early voting, voters had greater access to the polls; the Democrat voter turnout increased by nearly 70% before the polls even opened on Tuesday. The high primary turnout points to historic levels of participation for the upcoming November midterms, and Florida joins many other states this season reflecting the trend towards high turnout.
DI BOARD MEMBER AND DERRICK JOHNSON ON RACISM AND THE MIDTERMS NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED
The Trump Administration's racism will have consequences for the November midterm elections, writes President of the NAACP Derrick Johnson. Johnson put out an op-ed on Monday, August 28 addressing the disparity between whites and people of color on how they view the president's rhetoric and actions; Black, Latinx, Asian, and Native American voters overwhelmingly report feeling hostility from Trump's administration, a feeling not entirely shared by their white counterparts. Despite the administration's "war against civil rights," the people will continue to fight for racial justice, and it starts at the ballot box.

Mobilization & Collaboration    

2018 Expanded Mobilizing Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST

On September 5, DI’s next bi-weekly Mobilizing Committee Meeting will continue working on priority state campaigns, with a focus this week on the Promote the Vote and Voters Not Politicians ballot initiatives in Michigan. Todd Cook from Promote the Vote and Katie Fahey will join us with updates on the initiatives’ current progress and offer opportunities for engagement.

For more information and to RSVP, contact Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org.

Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 08.22.18

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
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Our highlighted issues, actions, and events in the democracy movement this week—Please share widely.

JOIN FB LIVE ON STATE OF DEMOCRACY: FLINT, MI

The DI is part of a larger national effort called Declaration For American Democracy (DFAD). We’re helping to build a grassroots effort to highlight a package of democracy reforms solutions we need to fix our democracy.

On August 28 at 6pm ET, we’re supporting a Facebook live on the topic of gerrymandering, voting rights, and how the current state of democracy in Michigan has made it difficult to hold state legislators accountable for the Flint water crisis.

Here is the Facebook page for DFAD, where you will be able to join the Facebook live discussion. Please share this information with your members.

RESTORE YOUR VOTE

DI partner Campaign Legal Center has launched an exciting new tool, Restore Your Vote, to help those with past convictions reclaim their right to vote. The tool will be updated with information from all 50 states, so someone can walk through what their past convictions were, and see if they're eligible to vote now. We expect 17 million people—if they know about the tool and can see they are eligible—would be able to register to vote right now. As many as 6 million will be able to see that their crime disqualified them to vote, but it will direct them on how to restore their vote in their state, if possible. Share this tool widely as we approach these critical midterm elections. Disenfranchisement affects everybody.

HAVE YOU SIGNED THE PETITION?

With fewer than 80 days until the election, and new challenges to our voting rights, it’s crucial that we send a message: “Don’t Mess With Our Vote!”
Please sign and distribute the petition with your members. Our petition engagement guide can be found here. To get involved, contact Getachew at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org.


TAKE ACTION

SECOND CHANCES FLORIDA: AUGUST 25 DAY OF ACTION & ADOPT-A-DAY
DI ally Second Chances Florida has two opportunities for you to show your support this week:
August 25 Day of Action: This Saturday, August 25, from 1pm–4pm EST, will be the next day of national call parties to talk to Florida voters. We need you help gathering attendees and participants. Join one of 19 major call parties across the country and encourage people to make virtual calls if there's no party near them. Here's a sample recruitment email.

Adopt a day: We need to let Florida voters know why it's so important to vote YES on Amendment 4 this November. Boost Second Chances' phone banking program by adopting one day, once a month, to be your organization's day for remote phone banking to voters. You'll be responsible for filling up the phones on day Mon–Thurs, 5:30pm–8:30pm EST—with the goal of recruiting at least 20 callers for your shift (which means getting 40 to sign up, so that 20 show up). You can do this virtually with your membership or host a call party with your staff. If each partner takes one day we can keep the calls rolling out. Fill out this form to adopt days in the coming month.
CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY HALL OF SHAME

Fill out the ballot for this year's Corporate Accountability Hall of Shame is live, and the competition is fierce.
Nayyirah Shariff, director of DI ally Flint Rising, has put out a call to vote for Nestlé and Veolia due to their privatization and commodification of water at the height of the Flint lead crisis.
Vote now for the companies you love to hate.
UNITE FOR JUSTICE DAY OF ACTION | #STOPKAVANAUGH

DI partner Every Voice and coalition partners are participating in a national day of action this Sunday, August 26, to stop Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.  

We can stop Kavanaugh’s nomination and protect our democracy from big money spending and rolling back of voting rights. Find an event near you and stand up together.

SAVE THE DATE: BLUEPRINT FOR A GREAT DEMOCRACY

The Democracy Initiative is proud to collaborate with Common Cause on their annual Blueprint conference. Click the image to learn more.

NEWS FROM PARTNERS

NC NAACP FILES SUIT AGAINST TOP LEGISLATORS OVER VOTING RIGHTS ATTACK
Voting rights and environmental protections are under attack in North Carolina. Clean Air Carolina and North Carolina NAACP, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, just filed suit Monday, August 21 against the NC Speaker of the House, Senate Pro Tempore, and State Board of Elections due to their efforts to place dangerous initiatives on the November ballot. The coalition objects to the NC General Assembly’s power grab, which designed to secure their own incumbency, disenfranchise voters, and prevent the state from supporting programs that advocate for the poor, communities of color, and the environment.
 

Read more.

* * *

COUNTY ELECTION OFFICIALS IN GEORGIA ATTEMPT TO CLOSE MAJORITY OF PRECINCTS
Election officials from Randolph County, Georgia, have proposed to close seven of the nine polling precincts for the November election. The county election board claims that the precincts fail to satisfy the requirements outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the county election board’s consultant attributed the plan to “consolidation,” a process apparently supported by gubernatorial candidate and current Secretary of State Brian Kemp.          

Local groups and voting rights advocates rightly point out that the move will suppress voter turnout in the county.

In a Washington Post article, president and executive director for DI partner Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke was quoted:

"The more communities mobilize to turn out the vote, the harsher the voter suppression efforts undertaken by officials. We are prepared to use every tool in our arsenal to ensure that African American voters are able to have meaningful access to the polls this election cycle."


Add your name to Common Cause Georgia's petition to stop the attack on voter's rights. Read more on the story here.

Mobilization & Collaboration    

DI Communications Working Group—Next Meeting THURSDAY, August 23rd at 1pm.

The communications working group is our collaborative space for message refinement and development for our current field work. We need your skills. These monthly meetings also help to resource partner organizations for ongoing local and national campaigns and coordinate messaging and communications as a coalition.

RSVP to apohl@democracyinitiative.org.

 

Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 08.16.18

Thursday, August 16, 2018
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Our highlighted issues, actions, and events in the democracy movement this week—Please share widely.

ACT NOW: DON't Mess With our vote!

As the country approaches a midterm election projected to have a historically high voter turnout, voters are facing significant obstacles to casting their ballots. Just in the last week, voters in Oakland County, Michigan arrived at precincts without enough ballots, and some had to leave  for work or to return to their children without casting a vote. Newly purchased voting machines in several Michigan counties proved difficult for blind voters to use. Infamous proponent for voter suppression and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach narrowly won a gubernatorial nomination amid conflicts of interest and misrepresented vote tallies. The American people cannot participate in a democracy that works for everyone when their ability to vote is undermined at every turn.

That's why we're asking you to sign Don't Mess With Our Vote!

We know the challenges that face our democracy. It's time to recognize that education about the issues alone doesn’t drive change. Debating the issues doesn’t drive change. Direct , strategic, collective action drives change.

For more info and ways to share the petition, contact Getachew at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org.

People have raised awareness. It’s time to organize.

Victory: MASSACHUSETTS 14th STATE TO PASS AVR

Congratulations to Common Cause Massachusetts, DI partners, and allies on their efforts to make Massachusetts the 14th state to pass automatic voter registration. The state’s new law registers eligible Massachusetts residents in an opt-out system when they interact with the DMV or MassHealth, Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts Pam Wilmot estimates that 500,000 new voters could be registered on the state voter rolls within the next five years.

Read more.

NEWS FROM THE MIDTERM CYCLE

FLORIDA VOTING MACHINE VULNERABILITIES EXPOSED AT HACKING CONVENTION
A strong democracy needs well-funded, secure election infrastructure. We're a long way from achieving that. At the DEFCON 26 hacking convention, an event called “Voting Machine Hacking Village” was hosted for kids aged 8 to 17, where after a quick thirty-minute lesson on SQL injections the 39 participants attempted to hack a 2013 Diebold TSX voting machine—the current machine widely used in Florida. Out of the 39 participants aged 8-17, 35 kids found exploits. The fastest hack was accomplished by an 11 year old in under 10 minutes. The 11 year old hacked a replica of the Florida state website and was able to change the results of the election.

Read more.
TUESDAY'S PRIMARIES CONTINUE WITH HISTORIC CANDIDATE NOMINATIONS
As we see voter turnout on the rise, progressive candidates who represent our inclusive democracy are winning. The August 7th primaries continue these victories. In Vermont, the Democratic Party nominated Christine Hallquist, the first transgender gubernatorial candidate in US history. Democrats in Connecticut nominated Jahana Hayes, who could be come the state's first Black congresswoman. And finally, Somali-American and Muslim Ilhan Omar received the Democratic nomination for Minnesota's 5th Congressional District.

SAVE THE DATE: BLUEPRINT FOR A GREAT DEMOCRACY

The Democracy Initiative is proud to collaborate with Common Cause on their annual Blueprint conference. Click the image to learn more.

TAKE ACTION

DEMOCRACY IS ON THE BALLOT IN 2018
DI anchor partner Common Cause launched their Our Democracy 2018 campaign to ensure that our elected officials protect our democracy.

To take action, visit their campaign website and use their toolkit to send a message to your elected officials.
CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY HALL OF SHAME
The ballot for this year’s Corporate Accountability Hall of Shame is live, and the competition is fierce. Vote now for the companies you love to hate.
SHINE A LIGHT ON CORRUPTION PETITION
Dark money groups compete to control our democracy, That's why DI coalition partners Corporate Accountability, Common Cause, PFAW, and Daily Kos have joined together in a coalition to work on passing the DISCLOSE Act. Sign their petition here.

Mobilization & Collaboration    

2018 Expanded Mobilizing Meetings

Join a national briefing on the launch of "Restore Your Vote," a new web tool to help returning citizens know their voting rights—Aug. 22nd at 3pm EST/ Noon PST

Join us on our next bi-weekly DI Mobilizing meeting Wednesday, August 22nd at 3pm EST. The DI is collaborating with the Campaign Legal Center and Color of Change on the launch of their new Felony Disenfranchisement web tool "Restore Your Vote," aimed at educating people with felony convictions to know they have the right to vote before the upcoming midterm elections. In fact, up to 17 million Americans with past convictions can vote RIGHT NOW—they just don't know it—because the laws in every state can be confusing.

We encourage both national staff and your state leaders to join us for this briefing. RSVP to Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org

Get Engaged - See Latest Updates on the Campaigns Calendar

We are maintaining a DI campaign calendar that will include information on upcoming events and activities. Visit our website to access the calendar. Contact Elsie (eguerrero@democracyinitiative.org ) if you have questions.

 

Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 08.09.18

Thursday, August 9, 2018
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Our highlighted issues, actions, and events in the democracy movement this week--Please share widely.

Don't mess with our vote! petition

 

The “Don’t Mess With Our Vote!” Petition officially launched on Monday, August 6, the 53rd anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act. With dark money groups spending millions of dollars in primaries on congressional candidates, and reports of ballot shortages in Oakland County, Michigan, there has never been a better time to join the fight for election integrity and accessibility.
 


We are working with partners to distribute and get signatures on this demand for the protection of voting rights through September 30, through email and social media. This petition is putting politicians on notice, showing solidarity across democracy campaigns, and educating and agitating members.

We’ve also provided resources to assist with social media and distribution. Please contact Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org to work with us on this campaign.

important takeaways from tuesday's primaries

MISSOURI COALITION DEFEATS RIGHT TO WORKPhoto Credit: Jeenah Moon for New York Times
Congratulations to DI partners and allies in Missouri on their huge win against the “Right to Work” referendum. In Tuesday’s primary, labor overcame the tactics of dark money groups and anti-union forces attempting to enforce “Right to Work” in Missouri. A coalition of labor groups, spearheaded by Missouri AFL-CIO, reached an estimated 500,000 voters on the ground, and their organizing efforts paid off with 67% of voters choosing to overturn the RTW law. State Republican legislators even attempted to move the vote from the vote from November to the primary in a gamble for a low turnout. Especially after the Janus v. ASFCME assault on labor, the defeat of Proposition A signals a victory for the right to organize, bargain collectively, and improve pay and benefits for all workers.

Read more. Photo Credit: Jeenah Moon for New York Times

* * *

VOTER TURNOUT IS ON THE RISE
According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, “Voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary election in Michigan shattered records going back at least as far as 1978.” Ohio’s special election in the 12th Congressional District drew 19%, an unusually high turnout for a special election. Missouri’s primary, which included a referendum on Proposition A, drew a high turnout of 30%. These recent statistics confirm a larger trend toward increased voter participation across the country, an exciting development that bodes well for the upcoming midterms and demonstrates the success of voting rights victories.

* * *

FROM THE FIELD: VOTERS NOT POLITICIANS' KATIE FAHEY ON MICHIGAN'S PRIMARY

On what Tuesday's election may mean for Voters Not Politicians' fair redistricting initiative, on the November ballot:

Michigan saw a record turnout for a primary election, demonstrating how engaged voters feel across the state. We're focused on harnessing that energy to continue to build on our grassroots momentum to pass Proposal 2 on November 6. Our volunteers filled over 500 shifts outside of 215 of the largest voting locations in the state on Tuesday – that's on top of knocking over 90,000 doors since late March. But there is still more work to do. We know that gerrymandering is a low information topic and we will do all that we can – at the doors, on the phones, through partnerships, online, and over the airwaves – to make sure we get our message out about a transparent, citizen-driven redistricting process. We welcome your ideas and support to make this goal a reality.

* * *

RECORD NUMBER OF WOMEN NOMINATED TO RUN FOR OFFICE
The 2018 midterm election has seen a record number of women running for congressional and gubernatorial races. After Tuesday's primaries, the current total of women representing major parties in gubernatorial races stands at eleven, one higher than last year. In congressional races, 168 women have secured major party nominations, breaking the previous record by one. These numbers are expected to swell as primary season continues, and these new records suggest an encouraging rise of equal representation for women in elected office.

One nomination of note is Rashida Tlaib, daughter of Palestinian immigrants, who won the Democratic nomination in Michigan’s 13th district (formerly John Coyer's seat). She would be the first Muslim woman elected to Congress, and is running unopposed. 

* * *

REFORM IS IN THE AIR: A WIN FOR JUSTICE IN MISSOURI
Ferguson City Council Member Wesley Bell, who ran on a platform of ending mass incarceration and reforming cash bail, beat 27 year incumbent Bob McCulloch, who refused to charge the police involved in the killing of Michael Brown, to become St. Louis County’s top prosecutor. More on Wesley Bell and his campaign here.

 


TAKE ACTION

 

PLANNING FOR NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY 2018
DI partner Nonprofit VOTE is hosting a webinar on Thursday, August 16 at 11am to support groups organizing events for National Voter Registration Day, September 25.

The webinar will cover what you need to know to ensure that your voter registration event is a success. They’ll walk you through the field toolkit, point you to a variety of helpful materials and tools provided by their partners and others, and answer any questions you may have. RSVP here.

CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY HALL OF SHAME


The ballot for this year’s Corporate Accountability Hall of Shame is live, and the competition is fierce. Vote now for the companies you love to hate.

DARK MONEY MOVIE SURVEY
The documentary political thriller Dark Money is out in theaters across the country. The film follows an indefatigable journalist working to expose the real-life impacts of untraceable corporate money on U.S. Politicians and elections.

We want to hear from you! Have you seen the movie? What did you think?

More about the film, including screening locations and times, can be found at https://www.darkmoneyfilm.com/.


Mobilization and Collaboration

Get Engaged - See Latest Updates on the Campaigns Calendar

We are maintaining a DI campaign calendar that will include information on upcoming events and activities. Visit our website to access the calendar. Contact Elsie (eguerrero@democracyinitiative.org ) if you have questions.

2018 Expanded Mobilizing Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST

Beginning next week, on June 13th, DI’s bi-weekly Mobilizing Committee Meetings (at 3 p.m. every other Wednesday), will shift their focus to state coordination of priority campaigns, beginning with the Promote the Vote and Voters not Politicians ballot initiatives in Michigan. For more information, contact Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org

DI Communications Working Group

Fourth Thursday of every month, at 1pm E.T.
The communications working group is a collaborative space for message refinement using feedback from organizations working on the ground. These monthly meetings also help to resource partner organizations for ongoing local and national campaigns and coordinate messaging and communications as a coalition.
RSVP to apohl@democracyinitiative.org

Next Meeting: Thursday, August 23rd


Stay Connected with DI Partners

We invite partners to share a victory, recruit for actions in the fight for democracy, or let us know about a conference. Email Aimée (apohl@democracyinitiative.org) to add an action for the next Weekly Update!

If you are not already a subscriber, click here to receive the DI Report in your inbox. And please be sure to follow us on Twitter (@Unite4Democracy), like us on Facebook, instagram (unite4democracy) and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.