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National Democracy Week

Organizer: Declaration for American Democracy

January 2021 will mark the beginning of a new chapter for our democracy. Together, we can make transformational changes to our democracy by passing the For The People Act (H.R.1), which will get big money out of politics, break down barriers to voting, and hold public officials accountable. Democracy Week (Jan 11-15), a series of events and actions hosted by the Declaration for American Democracy, aiming to mobilize Americans around the importance of advancing our democracy in all aspects of our government.

Location: Virtual

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President-elect Biden has previously supported broad reform initiatives, like HR 1.

Reform groups renew unanswered call for support from Biden

Democracy reform advocates, still hoping for a significant statement of support from Joe Biden, have asked the president-elect to kick off the new year by pledging to prioritize their agenda.

One week after the election, 170 good-government and voting rights groups called on Biden to back their proposals. They believe that tackling corruption and strengthening democracy are of the utmost importance following the still-contentious presidential election. But Biden has yet to elevate that agenda.

While Biden cannot take any official action until Jan. 20, the 117th Congress convened Monday and can begin legislating right away So these groups are also hoping Speaker Nancy Pelosi keeps her word and once again focuses the first House bill on broad election, anti-corruption and voting rights reforms, like she did two years ago with legislation known as HR 1.

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President-elect Joe Biden, who with Jill Biden marked Veterans Day on Wednesday, has come under criticism for not making democracy reform a priority.

Anxious democracy reformers pressing Biden to make more of their causes

Joe Biden has plenty of campaign promises to keep, beyond the obvious and enormous top priorities of corralling the coronavirus and stabilizing the economy. And that's made democracy reform groups, which have never counted him as an impassioned ally, newly skeptical their priorities will get addressed in his new administration.

Their anxiety has come to the surface this week. A coalition of 170 progressive good governance and voting rights organizations asked the president-elect to elevate a collection of fix-the-system proposals into his first 100 days' agenda. Separately, one of the most influential such groups, RepresentUs, lambasted the Biden transition for "an omission of epic proportions" by giving short shrift to the issues it cares about.

Their impatience, just days after Biden's victory became clear, underscores the precarious position the cause of fixing democracy's dysfunction has in the public policy agenda.

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Joe Biden unveiled a full slate of political reforms early in the campaign but has spent minimal time talking about these issues in recent months.

While you wait: What a Democratic sweep would mean for democracy reform

American democracy has taken a beating over the last four years, but Election Day may set the table for historic reforms.

The severe stress test for democratic norms can be counted on to further intensify if President Trump gets re-elected. Continuation of a divided Congress would likely perpetuate gridlock on most policy fronts. But should Joe Biden win the White House, and the Senate turn Democratic as well, the new president would take office with an ambitious stack of ready-to-go democracy reform bills on his desk — all of them strongly backed by Democrats newly in control of the entire Capitol.

And those sweeping overhauls of the laws governing campaign financing, voting rights, gerrymandering, executive branch ethics, the courts and even the inner workings of Congress would all be both on the table and viable. The question would be how high they would be on a Biden priority list and how much political capital he and his congressional allies would be willing to spend to get them done.

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