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.


The DI Report: The DI's 3rd Annual Convening, 5th Anniversary of Citizens United, And Looking Ahead

DI Report

Welcome to the first DI Report of the new year, it has been a busy and productive time! Since our last edition, the Democracy Initiative brought together 220 leaders of DI organizations and other groups in our largest and most dynamic annual Convening to date last December. Building off of the priorities set at the Convening, we have launched a comprehensive and coordinated planning process to set priorities and plans for 2015 and 2016 and helped organize a national day of action around the... Read More

The DI Report: Election Protection, Democracy For All Amendment, Fair Elections

DI Report

This year and through the election, Democracy Initiative partners and allies came together and intensified efforts to protect our democracy, demonstrating the strength of our unified mission and goals. Many organizations, whose primary mission is elsewhere, were engaged in key efforts across the country. Volunteers stepped up to monitor the polls, we saw the culmination of years of effort with a vote on a Constitutional Amendment on the Senate floor with majority support, and new efforts in... Read More

The DI Report: Shelby County, Constitutional Amendment, CWA Legislative Conference, & Delaware

DI Report

This summer, the Democracy Initiative continued to fight for our democracy and engage activists around the country to stand up for our future. The stakes have never been higher as powerful interests are spending unprecedented amounts in campaign contributions and the health of our voting rights remains tenuous in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act and new laws implemented since the last election that circumscribe the ability of many to vote.  ... Read More

ICYMI: Salon: GOP’s vote suppression “fraud”: Why voting rights leaders are ready for a showdown today

Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Elias Isquith published an interview for Salon with Allegra Chapman, Common Cause’s Director of Voting and Elections, and Greg Moore, NAACP National Voter Fund Executive Director and Democracy Initiative Senior Strategist, discussing the non-partisan poll monitoring efforts across the country. For 50 years... Read More

The DI Report: McCutcheon, NY Public Finance, and National Voter Registration Act

DI Report

Welcome to the second installment of the Democracy Initiative’s newsletter. We have continued our fast pace and remain actively engaged on the critical issues facing our country. This has been a tough month in the wake of McCutcheon, but we remain determined to save our democracy from big money and special interests.

Please continue reading for an update on our recent work.

Supreme Court Hands Down Disappointing Decision in McCutcheon v. FEC
... Read More

The DI Report: Virtual Teach-In, Government By the People Act, and More

DI Report

Welcome to the first installment of the Democracy Initiative's monthly newsletter. We have had an exciting start to 2014 and look forward to advancing the critical issues facing our nation: money in politics, voting rights, and Senate rules reform. 

We would like to take this opportunity to update you on our recent work. 

2014 Democracy Initiative Convening 

On January 8, 2014, the Democracy Initiative held a follow up meeting to our first large... Read More

Democracy Initiative Calls on President Obama to Bring Health Care Exchanges into Compliance with Federal Voter Registration Law

Press Release

March 13, 2014 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Democracy Initiative—a coalition of more than 40 labor, civil rights, voting rights, environmental, and like-minded organizations committed to strengthening American democracy—called on the president to ensure that millions of Americans applying for benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are also provided their federally-guaranteed opportunity to register to vote... Read More