News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.

Fighting to Understand

Let's see. ... The Constitution still works. Capitalism still works. Americans even agree on many basic human values. Yet something is amiss. It is as if we have forgotten how to be We The People. We will explain.

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"Studies show mail-in ballots submitted by voters of color are rejected at higher rates than ballots from white voters. And all vote-by-mail systems may unintentionally leave vulnerable communities behind," writes Brettt Edkins.

The case for spending more to ease voting in a pandemic

Edkins is political director of Stand Up America, a progressive advocacy and voter mobilization organization.

Our country has rarely faced a threat as dangerous as the coronavirus pandemic. Our economy is in freefall, millions are out of work, thousands are dying — and there is no clear end in sight. The decisions our leaders make now will determine whether we withstand this outbreak.

I am incredibly proud that during this crisis my fiancé, a physician in New York City, is working day and night treating Covid-19 patients. I can't do what he does. Instead, I'm working with advocates and activists to ensure that Americans don't have to sacrifice their health to exercise their right to vote this year.

But on Tuesday, that's exactly what happened in Wisconsin when Republican lawmakers forced hundreds of thousands to vote in-person despite the incredible risk. The chaos that unfolded during that primary cannot be permitted to happen again — and that's why Congress must swiftly intervene to provide states the resources they need to keep voters safe.

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David Eisner, pictured with his wife, Lori, in the Andalusia region of Spain, brings bipartisan credentials to his new job.

Meet the reformer: David Eisner, taking a top mediator into its 2nd decade

Inability to reach consensus has long been at the heart of democracy's dysfunction. For the past decade, Convergence has gained notice for getting people on opposite ideological sides to find agreement on seemingly intractable policy fights. This week, founder Rob Fersh handed the reins to David Eisner, whose bipartisan credentials are hard to top. Before spending six years running Repair the World, the largest Jewish service organization, he created the nonprofit All for Good to support the Obama administration's public service initiative and directed AmeriCorps in the George W. Bush administration. He's also chaired the National Constitution Center and been the executive in charge of AOL Time Warner's philanthropy. His answers have been edited for clarity and length.

What's the tweet-length description of your organization?

Convergence facilitates leaders across sectors and perspectives to overcome the mistrust caused by sharp differences and political polarization, and to collaboratively find new solutions to urgent policy issues, such as education, economic mobility and health care.

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Civic Ed
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"Some people might be indifferent or simply not care, but many who forgo voting have legitimate reasons," argues Andrew Joseph Pegoda.

Asked why they don’t vote, here is what people say

Pegoda is a lecturer in women's, gender and sexuality studies, as well as religious studies, at the University of Houston.

At least 40 percent to 90 percent of American voters stay home during elections, evidence that low voter turnout for both national and local elections is a serious problem throughout the United States.

Now that the 2020 campaign is in something close to a state of suspended animation — the novel coronavirus pandemic having taken almost all attention away from the presidential race and forced delays in a dozen states' primaries — directives for people to "get out and vote" have some time to get fired up again.

But if and when outbreak subsides, some people might remain indifferent or simply not care. And many who forgo voting have legitimate reasons.

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