CSD Newsletter – January 31, 2012

Welcome to the eleventh edition of the Campaign for Stronger Democracy’s e-newsletter — a clearinghouse for news about the democracy reform community. The Campaign is a new coalition that is working to increase collaboration among democracy advocates.

The headlines below will be archived at the Campaign for Stronger Democracy’s web site.
You can also get news and updates through our Facebook page or on Twitter. Please forward this on to other colleagues and encourage them to sign up to receive future newsletters.


  • Introducing Peter Hardie, the Campaign’s new executive director: The Campaign for Stronger Democracy is delighted to announce the hiring of new executive director Peter Hardie. Peter brings with him years of experience in the democracy, electoral, and education fields, working as an organizer, teacher, and director, amongst a host of other positions and titles. Read more about Peter on our blog, and stay tuned for more opportunities to learn about what is upcoming at the Campaign for Stronger Democracy.

From the Blog

  • Assessing the State of the Union: This year’s State of the Union address drew out kudos and criticism from across the democracy field. We rounded up some of those reactions and put them on our blog.
  • SOPA, PIPA, and democracy: The SOPA web blackout on January 18 caused a great deal of clamor around the web (after all, Wikipedia was down for an entire day). Did the protest work, and what does it mean for the future of democracy? Although it resulted in more questions than answers, the protest did prove that there is a community that can be tapped for future movements.
  • Caucus Thoughts: In the wake of the Iowa caucus on January 3, we asked why the United States’ primary system is set up this way, and what movements there have been to create a more democratic (small “d”!) means of selecting presidential candidates.

Five Things You Must Read

  • From Citizenship To Voting: Improving Registration for New Americans (Demos): Demos takes a closer look at the gap in voter participation between native born US citizens and naturalized US citizens. The report finds that turnout amongst naturalized citizens is equal to, or in some cases higher than native born citizens, but that structural barriers exist that prevent naturalized citizens from registering to vote. The report also makes recommendations, including increased civic education funding, resources for English language learners, outreach by state and local election officials, and elimination of administrative practices that discriminate against eligible immigrant voters.
  • Citizens Inundated/Democracy Under Threat (Free Press): In the post-Citizens United age, independent groups are able to launch campaigns with no spending limits for and against political candidates, so long as there is no coordination between the group and the candidate. Ultimately these campaigns are waged on the air, with millions of dollars going to TV stations for commercial airtime. In this report, Free Press looks at broadcast media’s role in this time of over-inundation, and advocates for expanded transparency and disclosure.
  • Restore civics to the college curriculum (Washington Post): The Washington Post College Inc. blog takes a look at the new report from the Association of American Colleges and Universities, A Crucible Moment, which speaks about the importance of civic education in higher ed. Currently, colleges are viewed as places for “work force preparation,” but that such a view loses sight of what schools have been doing for the entire history of the country: preparing a civically engaged population.
  • The Next Immigration Challenge (New York Times): The New York Times op-ed page calls for a new “immigrant policy” that welcomes new immigrants and helps them to adjust to life in the United States. This is a contrast to the current “immigration policy” that tends to demonize newcomers to the country. With immigration rates to the United States taking a dip (in particular, fewer undocumented immigrants are arriving now than in the last ten years), the country stands to gain a lot from a more open approach.
  • Citizens United v. We The People (Public Citizen in Huffington Post): In the Huffington Post, Sean Siperstein of Public Citizen talks about the campaign to counter the Citizens United decision, ranging from local organizing, city and state level resoltions, and the possibility of a Constitutional Amendment.

Upcoming Events


Democracy 2.0

Electoral Reform and Voting Rights

Judicial Reform

Lobbying, Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform

Media Reform and Internet Access

National, Community and Public Service

Participation, Collaboration, and Civic Engagement

Racial Justice, Civil Rights and Immigrant Civic Inclusion

State and Local Democracy

Transparency and Openness

Youth Engagement and Civic Education

Please pass this on to your colleagues and encourage them to sign up for our regular newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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