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Sensible gun laws, a safer environment, campaign finance reform, affordable access to health care, and many other progressive priorities are supported by an overwhelming majority of the American people. But they aren't the law of the land. That isn't an accident. Republicans know they don't enjoy popular support. So, keeping certain people from voting is at the heart of their election strategy. We have to fight voter suppression, but we can't just play defense anymore. iVote is going on offense to fight to expand access to voting to ensure more people vote... because if everyone voted our democracy would finally reflect the will of all its people.

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NYU Photo Bureau.

The Brennan Center's Myrna Pérez speaks at the New York University Law School two years ago.

Meet the reformer: Myrna Pérez, advocate for a trustworthy election in the pandemic

The Brennan Center for Justice, a progressive think tank at New York University Law School, is one of the preeminent groups pushing for a comprehensive, reliable and safe election during the coronavirus pandemic. And helming that litigation, research and lobbying effort is Myrna Pérez. She runs the voting rights and elections program and has been with the Brennan Center most of her professional life, arriving after a stint at a civil rights firm in Washington and clerkships for federal trial and appeals court judges in Philadelphia. Before getting a law degree from Columbia in 2003, she was a health care and housing analyst for what's now called the Government Accountability Office, the congressional oversight agency. Her answers have been edited for clarity and length.

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

Politicians manipulating the rules so some of us can't vote.

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Voting
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Lennart Preiss/Getty Images

More than 200,000 troops are stationed overseas — including these soldiers in Germany — but only 7 percent of our eligible military and overseas voters cast ballots.

Our troops deserve the chance to take the first big shot at voting online

Interiano is head of government relations at Aurora Innovation Inc., which makes software to operate self-driving vehicles, and an advisor to Voatz Inc., which makes a mobile voting app.
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Voting, Power, and Equity: Racial Justice on the 2020 Ballot

Organizer: Leadership Now Project

With momentum from the Black Lives Matter movement and the upcoming U.S. elections in November, racial justice is, now more than ever in our modern history, an issue on the ballot. As the election nears, voters of color and other marginalized groups are at risk of being disenfranchised by suppression tactics such as a neglect of the United States Postal Service at a time when mail in ballots are critical amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, or voter identification requirements at the polls. At the same time, efforts related to racial justice are on the ballot, such as restoring affirmative action in California's higher education system, or abolishing private prisons and the cash bail system.

Philanthropic funders and business leaders have a critical role to play in supporting the work of racial justice organizers who have been leading the movement for years. To realize commitments made to the Black Lives Matter movement, it will be critical for funders and businesses to show their support for voting rights and broader democracy strengthening. This effort is needed to support the ongoing work of organizers who are leading the way through both conventional grassroots activism and innovative digital strategies.

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