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Democracy Initiative

The Democracy Initiative is a coalition of organizations working toward a bright future in which all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process. Our partner organizations pursue a diverse range of progressive goals, including civil rights, workers' rights, women's rights, and climate justice, but we know that success in any of these areas depends on reforming our democracy. United by a shared vision for a political process that counts every voice and every vote equally, we are mobilizing members of Democracy Initiative organizations to ensure that all Americans can vote, diminish the influence of corporate and special interests, and halt the obstruction that has thrown our Congress out of balance.

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The Democracy Initiative is "working to make sure every vote is counted in this historic election, and to keep polling places safe from the coronavirus and from illegal attempts to intimidate voters."

This closing argument unites advocates on the left and businesses on the right

The Democracy Initiative is a coalition of 75 progressive groups advocating for voting rights and campaign finance regulation. On the board are Karen Hobert Flynn of Common Cause, Tefere Gebre of the AFL-CIO, Ray Curry of the United Auto Workers union, Derrick Johnson of the NAACP, Virginia Kase of the League of Women Voters, Erich Pica of Friends of the Earth, K. Sabeel Rahman of Demos and Gustavo Torres of CASA.

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Ben Jealous, who spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, is the new president of People for the American Way.

Meet the reformer: Ben Jealous, who's back to lead a second premier voting rights group

Few advocacy leaders can say they have led two of the more storied progressive organizations fighting for civil rights and voting rights. Ben Jealous now counts himself a member of that select cohort. The youngest person named to head the NAACP, in 2008 when he was just 35, he led that organization through the Trayvon Martin case, the fight over New York's stop-and-frisk policies and other civil rights battles. He also formed the Democracy Initiative, a progressive coalition pushing campaign finance and voting rights reform. He left the NAACP in 2013 and was the Democratic nominee for governor of Maryland two years ago, losing to GOP incumbent Larry Hogan by 12 points. In June he was named president of People for the American Way, the progressive group founded by TV visionary Norman Lear. His answers have been edited for clarity and length.

What's democracy's biggest challenge, in 10 words or less?

Money in politics.

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