Democracy Coalition Thanks Sen. Manchin for his Commitment to Voting Rights for All Americans, Looks to Partner with the Senator to Pass the For the People Act

We thank Senator Joe Manchin for his response to S. 1, the For the People Act, and his commitment to curbing the influence of dark money in our politics and making sure that all Americans have equal access to the ballot box, particularly Black, Brown and Indigenous communities and other communities of color that continue to face disenfranchisement. Sen. Manchin has long been a champion for voting rights and ensuring that our democratic institutions and elections are fair, transparent, and free from any outside interference.

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Democracy Coalition Applauds Senate for Introducing S. 1, the For The People Act, Calls on Senate to Immediately Pass & Send the Transformative Democracy Reform Package to President Biden’s Desk to Sign into Law

With the introduction of S. 1, the For The People Act, the Senate made it clear that democracy reform is a top priority. We applaud Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Rules Committee Chairwoman Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), for their leadership in moving our country toward a government that finally lives up to our founding promise of a democracy that is of, by, and for the people.

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Nearly 50 Groups Respond to House Passage of HR1

Declaration for American Democracy 51 for 51 AFSCME American Federation of Teachers Bend the Arc (below) Blue Wave Postcards Movement (below) Brady United Brennan Center Campaign Legal Center Center for American Progress Center for Popular Democracy Clean Elections Texas...

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On 11th Anniversary of Supreme Court’s Damaging Citizens United v. FEC decision, Declaration for American Democracy Celebrates Reintroduction of Constitutional Amendment to Get Big Money of Politics

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jana Morgan, Director of the Declaration for American Democracy – a diverse, grassroots coalition of nearly 180 labor, racial justice, voting rights, faith, environmental, women’s rights and good government groups, along with many other important communities...

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Statement on Washington DC Admission Act (H.R. 51) Reintroduction

Statement from Jana Morgan, Director of the Declaration for American Democracy – a coalition of over 170 organizations from the labor, racial justice, faith, women’s rights, environmental, good government, and many other important communities – in response to the reintroduction...

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Voters Make Clear that Change is Needed Now: 170+ Organizations Call on Congress & President-Elect Biden to Finish the Job and Pass the For the People Act as a First Priority to Rebuild Our Democracy

Statement from Jana Morgan, Director of the Declaration for American Democracy – a coalition of over 170 organizations from the labor, racial justice, voting rights, faith, environmental, women’s rights, good government, and many other important communities, representing tens...

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Debate Moderator Letter

To Chris Wallace, Susan Page, Steve Scully, and Kristen Welker: Debates present a special forum for the American people to hear directly from presidential and vice-presidential candidates about their vision for how to grapple with the problems facing the country. During a year...

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Uphold True Democracy and Support Black Lives

The anti-Black violence and continued police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week is yet one more tragedy on a 400+ year timeline of structural and systemic racism in America against the Black, Indigenous, and people of color who live here.  Ever since the founding of...

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We’re Hiring! DFAD is seeking a Campaign Associate.

Campaign Associate – Declaration for American Democracy GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The Declaration for American Democracy (DFAD) Coalition seeks to educate the public on the key issues facing our democracy and grow the grassroots movement for reforms through inspiring people...

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In Response to the Senate’s COVID-19 Stimulus Bill:

Statement from Jana Morgan, Director of the Declaration for American Democracy – a coalition of 160 organizations from the labor, racial justice, voting rights, faith, environmental, women’s rights, good government, and many other important communities – in response to the...

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Mail-in Voting is About Democracy, Not Helping Democrats

Statement from Jana Morgan, Director of the Declaration for American Democracy – a coalition of over 160 organizations from the labor, racial justice, faith, women’s rights, environmental, good government, and many other important communities – in response to President Trump’s...

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DFAD Statement on Extrajudicial Killings of Black Americans

Statement from Jana Morgan, Director of the Declaration for American Democracy – a coalition of 160 organizations from the labor, racial justice, faith, women’s rights, environmental, good government, and many other important communities – in response to police...

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This Week in Democracy Reform

This week, states continued to adapt their primary elections to address the challenges of coronavirus. Milwaukee implemented a new drive-up early voting program, and voting rights activists sued the state of Wisconsin to ease prohibitive barriers to absentee voting. Iowa will...

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Vote by mail questions, more elections delayed, and more.

This Week in 200 Words This week, several more states cancelled or postponed their primaries due to the coronavirus, bringing the total postponed state primaries to nine. Georgia will send mail-in ballots to every registered voter in time for its rescheduled primary, Iowa has...

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H.R. 1 Anniversary Activist Webinar

Our democracy is in turmoil. Billionaires and corporate interests are flooding our elections with money, and state legislatures are trying to enact laws that suppress the voices of voters. But members of Congress are pushing back. Last year, Democrats in the U.S. House of...

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Native American Voting Rights, DC Statehood, & More

This Week in 200 Words This week in state updates, a Native American voting rights case over North Dakota’s photo ID law is headed to court. Michigan activists are rallying to oppose Republican efforts to roll back the independent redistricting and government ethics reforms...

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Citizens United: 10 Years Later Americans Demand Change

Washington, D.C. – Today marks 10 years since the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for corporations and wealthy donors to spend an unlimited amount of money to influence our elections with its Citizens United v. FEC decision. To put the power back in the hands of people, the...

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Voting Machines Upgrades, Ranked Choice Voting and More

This Week in 200 Words This week, a federal judge upheld Georgia’s purge of nearly 100,000 voters from its voter rolls. A North Carolina voter ID law was struck down with references to the state’s history of racist voter suppression. A Texas voter registration law is also...

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Dark Money Rising, New Bipartisan Redistricting in Ohio and more

This Week in 200 Words This week, Ohio will launch its new bipartisan redistricting process in 2021. Wisconsin approved $1.1 million to reinforce election security. Michigan has seen a rise in dark money in recent times. Even with steps taken by Missouri, big money still has a...

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President Obama Redistricting U and more

This Week in 200 Words In state updates, the court ordered lawmakers in North Carolina to draw up new maps before the 2020 elections. Louisiana has upgraded the software on all its states voting machines. Alaska attempted to open its primary elections to all voters as well as...

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Cybersecurity Q&A, New Voting Machines and More

This Week in 200 Words This week, Los Angeles is experimenting with voting machines, portraying the trade-offs between security and accessibility. Election officials in Kentucky, Louisiana and Connecticut are asking for more resources so they can provide adequate election...

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Hacking into our voting systems and more

This Week in Democracy Reform This week, Texas Democrats are working to win the state house and prevent gerrymandering in 2021. A bipartisan group of former North Carolina governors are calling on the courts to end partisan gerrymandering. Delaware Senators have joined other...

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Making Mail in Ballots Free, Presidential Tax Returns and More

This Week in Democracy Reform This week, Oregon just made voting easier by making mail in ballots free. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law that mandates all presidential candidates release their tax returns. A New York resident pressured Cuomo to make changes in the...

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What does the For the People Act (H.R. 1) do?

The For the People Act (H.R. 1) is the boldest democracy reform since Watergate.

It’s a massive overhaul of voting, money-in-politics, and ethics laws — all to make our democracy more inclusive.

Gets big money out of politics.

The For the People Act (H.R. 1):

  • counters the Citizens United decision
  • establishes a voluntary small donor public financing system for House races
  • enacts the DISCLOSE Act
  • reveals who's funding dark money groups
  • strengthens the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals
  • enacts the Honest Ads Act
  • reveals who's buying online political ads
  • enacts the Stand By Every Ad Act
  • requires political ad buyers to reveal their top donors and chief officials
  • mandates greater transparency from tax-exempt organizations
  • requires publicly traded companies to consult with shareholders before spending on politics
  • leads to disclosure of contributions by government contractors
  • holds presidential inaugural committees accountable
  • pilots a voucher program, so voters can contribute to candidates of their choice
  • establishes a small donor matching system for Congressional elections
  • reforms the presidential public financing program
  • empowers more people to run by allowing federal candidates who are not incumbents to use part of their campaign funds for childcare and certain other expenses
  • encourages small dollar donations to political party committees
  • overhauls the FEC
  • cracks down on Super PAC-Candidate coordination
  • requires disposal of unused campaign funds
Makes voting simpler, safer, and fairer.

The For the People Act (H.R. 1):

  • commits to restore and update the full protections of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) — the most effective civil rights legislation in the history of the United States
  • commits to protect and promote Native American voting rights
  • ensures access to voting for individuals with disabilities
  • supports DC statehood
  • supports federal voting rights for Americans living in US territories
  • enacts the Redistricting Reform Act of 2019
  • bans partisan and racial gerrymandering
  • adopts independent redistricting commissions
  • combats cyberattacks, election hacking, and disinformation campaigns
  • promotes online voter registration in federal elections nationwide
  • requires automatic voter registration for federal elections nationwide
  • allows same day registration for federal elections nationwide
  • prevents voter roll purges
  • makes registration deadlines line up with public holidays
  • requires USPS to remind movers to update their voter registration
  • creates grants to boost youth involvement in election activities
  • provide additional state funding to update registration processes
  • prohibits interference with voter registration
  • standardizes voter registrations across states
  • expands pre-registration for future voters currently 16 or older
  • prohibits voter caging
  • enacts the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act
  • restores federal voting rights to those disenfranchised by a prior criminal conviction
  • adopt paper ballots
  • strengthen provisional balloting
  • create a nationwide standard for early voting
  • expand opportunities to vote by mail
  • protect voting rights for absent military and overseas voters
  • provides grants for more poll workers
  • enhances enforcement of existing standards
  • prevents conflicts of interest with chief state election officials
  • allows public universities to become voter registration agencies
  • lets students vote where they attend school
  • requires a weeks' notice to change polling places
  • allows a sworn statement option for voter ID requirements
  • makes absentee ballots postage-free
  • helps states process absentee ballots
  • strengthens voter information support
  • standardizes polling place hours of operation
  • improves the Election Assistance Commission
  • funds election security upgrades
  • increases communication about threats to state election systems
Holds public officials accountable.

The For the People Act (H.R. 1):

  • requires sitting presidents, vice presidents, and major-party candidates for those offices to disclose their tax returns
  • requires a code of ethics for the United States Supreme Court
  • updates and enforces the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)
  • increases federal lobbying disclosure requirements
  • requires presidential appointees to recuse themselves from government matters to which the president or their spouse is a party
  • ensures easy public access to lobbying information
  • requires the president and vice president to divest from any personal financial holdings that could pose a conflict of interest with their official duties
  • demands transparency for White House ethics waivers
  • strengthen ethics enforcement in the executive branch
  • requires more disclosure of political donations and fundraising by cabinet members and other senior appointees
  • makes presidents-elect adopt and enforce ethics rules for their transition teams
  • requires all senior executive branch appointees to take an ethics pledge
  • restricts travel on private aircraft by cabinet members and other senior appointees
  • makes Members of Congress pay any awards or settlements in connection to claims of workplace harassment
  • prohibits House members from serving on the boards of for-profit companies
  • bars Members of Congress and staff from trying to make laws to make themselves rich
  • requires candidates to disclose if they get donations from registered lobbyists
  • creates a searchable, public online portal for all reports to Congress
  • requires reporting of outside compensation for congressional staff

What is the Declaration for American Democracy?

A Coalition of 200+ Member Organizations

Our coalition includes groups from the labor, racial justice, faith, women’s rights, environmental, good government, and many other important communities. Formed in 2018, we set out on a mission to take back our democracy and restore power to the people. We believe that we must build a democracy where everyone participates, every vote is counted, and everyone’s voice is heard.

To learn more about how democracy reform is critical to achieving progress on the issues voters care about most, read our report: Fixing Our Broken Democracy.

Our Mission

Together we must build a democracy where everyone participates, every vote is counted, voting rights are fully enforced, and everyone’s voice is heard. We deserve to have a say in decisions that affect our lives, and to be fairly represented by elected officials who are responsive to our needs in order to make our lives better.

Today our system is in crisis. Powerful corporate and wealthy interests regularly defy the foundational principles of fairness, equity, ethics, accountability, and respect for the rule of law, and we are heading towards an impending constitutional catastrophe. Some states are passing laws that make it harder for voters, particularly minority voters, to gain access to the ballot. Long-standing voluntary standards that created a framework for some executive branch accountability are no longer enough to forestall corruption, and our current system of laws is inadequate. It is with a backdrop of Congressional paralysis and increasing contempt for democratic values that we reaffirm the need for real momentous democracy reform.

We know that from calamity, opportunities arise – as does the chance to collectively build the democracy we demand and deserve.

The Declaration for American Democracy has formed with a commitment to create and pass a series of fundamental reforms to rebalance our moneyed political system, empower everyday Americans, ensure equal justice for all, protect the public’s right to know, reduce barriers to participation in our elections, vigorously enforce voting laws, and fix our ethics laws. We will not be satisfied with any single reform, and will continue to press for the structural changes necessary to rebalance power for people. We will not accept anything less than a strong democratic system that reflects, responds to, and represents us.

Our Plan

Our democracy is in crisis. Each day brings more news of corruption, voter suppression, and shocking lawlessness at the highest levels of our government. Basic transparency and routine oversight are stymied at every turn. Corporations and wealthy interests pay top dollar, often anonymously, to influence elections and lobby officials, drowning out the voices of everyday voters. Instead of taking steps to secure our elections, the President of the United States is inviting – demanding, even – that foreign governments interfere in the 2020 election. Americans are feeling, with good reason, that our democracy is broken.

But there is hope for change.

In March 2019, the Declaration For American Democracy worked collectively to help ensure the U.S. House passed the groundbreaking reforms in the For the People Act (H.R.1), and introduced the Senate Companion S.949, with every single Democrat signed on.

The For the People Act contains three main pillars:

  • Ensuring all Americans can have their voices heard by reforming our voting and election laws by strengthening election security, ending partisan gerrymandering, and enacting automatic voter registration;
  • Getting big money out of politics by creating a new small-donor matching funds system for federal candidates, requiring super PACs and “dark money” political organizations to make their donors public, and strengthening oversight rules to ensure those who break our campaign finance laws are held accountable; and
  • Ending corruption and holding public officials accountable by expanding conflict-of-interest laws, banning members of Congress from serving on corporate boards, and requiring major party presidential candidates to publicly disclose their tax returns.

The Declaration for American Democracy also contributed to the fight to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R.4) through the House in December 2019. The Voting Rights Advancement Act seeks to restore critical provisions of the Voting Rights Act (1965), which was gutted in the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder. For decades these provisions had protected voters in states with histories of pernicious voting discrimination. This decision gave state lawmakers license to suppress the vote of communities of color without significant risk of legal challenges

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