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West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI);
Open government in Benin has been on the agenda of politicians and civil society for the past five years. The concept aims at effective governance through transparency and accountability of public authorities. However, certain basic requirements for its implementation in our country continue to be an obstacle. Among them is the non-recognition of the right of access to public information – one of the pillars of open government. The NGO Coalition of Benin for an Open Government1, with support from NIMD (Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy), brought together Beninese parliamentarians in Cotonou for an advocacy seminar on access to public information from 11 – 13 August 2020. This is yet another advocacy meeting whose objective was "to get the Beninese legislature to take charge of the content and challenges of Open Government and its score for a successful process" of Benin's accession to the Open Government Partnership (OGP), specifically aimed at sensitising parliamentarians on the need to provide Benin with a law that effectively promotes access to public information.
Southern Poverty Law Center;
This report describes the 2020 elections in five Southern states—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi—with a particular emphasis on election administration problems; voter suppression; the efforts of voting rights organizations to mobilize voters and protect their votes; and the actions of extremists who sought to intimidate voters and spread disinformation.As this report shows, it is abundantly clear that our electoral system needs repair. Numerous states have erected new barriers to voting since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 gutted a critical component of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Many also cling to Jim Crow-era laws, such as felony disenfranchisement, that were specifically designed to suppress the Black vote—or they refuse to enact commonsense changes that would make voting easier and accessible to all citizens. At the same time, some states maintain archaic administrative systems that are woefully inadequate to meet the needs of voters today and ensure fair elections.This report provides a blueprint for reforming the electoral system. The Biden administration and Congress must act quickly to shore up the stability of the electoral process and put our democracy on a firmer footing. Passage of federal laws, including those that strengthen the Voting Rights Act, are necessary steps forward on the path to reform—toward ensuring that all Americans have easy and equal access to the ballot box.
This report examines the ways corporations and the ultrarich are lobbying in response the the Biden Administration's Build Back Better plan. Specifically, they focus on who is spending big to block key measures in the plan related to taxes, drug pricing, healthcare, housing, the environment, and immigration. The authors explain wht that Build Back Better agenda proposes, and what current polls reveal about popular opinion.
FWD.us estimates that nearly all undocumented immigrants belong to groups that most Americans say should be provided a pathway to citizenship. These groups include essential workers, Dreamers who came to the U.S. as children, undocumented individuals living in the U.S. for many years, those with U.S. citizen family members, or those who currently have temporary protection from deportation.Multiple pieces of commonsense legislation providing a pathway to citizenship for many of these groups have bipartisan support in Congress, but Congress has failed to pass this kind of legislation for decades. It's well past time for Congress to provide the certainty that undocumented immigrants need as they work essential jobs, go to school, support their families, and help rebuild the American economy.
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF);
Despite an unprecedented series of challenges—a global pandemic, extreme weather, rampant misinformation, voter intimidation, and coordinated efforts to disenfranchise millions of voters of color—Black voters turned out in record numbers in 2020 to have their voices heard in one of our nation's most important election years.But let's be clear. The election did not go smoothly. Record turnout nationally and in many states was only possible thanks to a Herculean effort on the part of many non-profit organizations and many thousands of individuals and volunteers, as well as the enormous sums of money spent on election security and countering misinformation.
Project on Government Oversight (POGO);
The nation's largest law enforcement agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is also its least transparent and accountable. The need for oversight and reform is pressing: Along the border, there have been numerous examples of CBP encounters leading to civilian deaths.This report proposes a bottom-up, good governance approach to reforms, and identifies six discrete needs for oversight which have in common a focus on changing CBP culture. It steers clear of border-policy debates by focusing on increased professionalism and transparency, as well as on improved processes for addressing misconduct. These oversight topics address a culture of impunity that must be — or at least must become — unacceptable to every CBP leader, officer, and agent among the many who do serve honorably.
Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE);
Youth activism and participation in social movements has been one of the defining features of civic life in the past several years: from the anti-gun violence protests after the Parkland school shooting in 2018, to the nationwide actions for racial justice following George Floyd's murder in 2020. Both of those were also election years in which young people achieved historic or near-historic levels of voter turnout. But what, exactly, was the relationship between young people's participation in the streets and at the ballot box?To answer that question, the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) joined a team of researchers to produce Protests, Politics, and Power: Exploring the Connections Between Youth Voting and Youth Movements. This research encompasses two studies that tackled this question with different but complementary perspectives and approaches. The Role of Electoral Engagement in Youth Social Movements is a qualitative study based on interviews and supplemental surveys with young leaders and participants in social movements. The second study, Quantifying the Effects of Protests on Voter Registration and Turnout, uses quantitative methods to study changes in electoral participation in areas where protests took place.
Spending millions, filing lawsuits, spreading misinformation, and telling lies: how Michigan Republicans and right-wing groups have fought the historic effort to bring transparency and fairness to our state through an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. They have opposed and continue to oppose independent redistricting, nonpartisan maps, and an equal voice for all voters.
This report examines how voters of various races and ethnicities interact with ranked choice voting (RCV) elections. Previous research has shown that RCV is associated with improved political representation for people of color; this report explores why this is. FairVote studied the question from two perspectives—the candidates and the voters—and outline their findings here.
Tahirih Justice Center;
To ensure equal and enduring access to asylum for survivors of gender-based violence, the U.S. must join other countries in adding a gender as an independent basis for asylum. This report by Tahirih lays out six arguments for why gender must be a protected ground.
In recent years, a more collaborative form of democratic engagement has emerged, primarily at the local and state level, as well as internationally. Collaborative governance, or co-governance, refers to a broad range of models of civic engagement that allow people outside and inside government to work together in designing policy. This new form of engagement seeks to break down the boundaries between advocates and officials and is not only more democratic, but also more inclusive and open to those served by the government. How are co-governance relationships best developed, sustained, and supported? The clearest way to answer this question is not in theory, but from the learned experiences of co-governance, at the neighborhood, city, and state level. In this report, we highlight five of these cases in communities across the country where progress has been made to improve the quality of life and strengthen the bonds of community for all through the collaborative work of democracy.
Corporate America was quick to demonstrate its disapproval of members of Congress who supported Donald Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election and disenfranchise millions of voters. At least 123 corporations and corporate trade associations altered their political giving policies after the January 6 Capitol riot, such as by suspending giving to the 147 members of Congress who voted to block the certification of presidential electors or pausing campaign contributions to all federal candidates.Which is why it's noteworthy that so many businesses and business associations backed the mostly Republican state lawmakers who are now pushing about 250 bills that would make voting in the next election more difficult – and which would disproportionately disenfranchise Black Americans and other groups of voters who typically support Democratic candidates.This report looks at the corporations and trade associations supporting state legislators who are proposing and backing these bills and analyzes three main datasets: Voter suppression bills, voter suppression bill supporters, and state level corporate contribution data.