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American Academy of Arts and Sciences;
"Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century" is the work of the US national and bipartisan Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, convened by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. It presents 31 recommendations – across political institutions, political culture, and civil society – which are the product of two years of work and nearly 50 listening sessions with Americans around the country, which sought to understand how American citizens could obtain the values, knowledge, and skills to become better citizens. Collectively, the recommendations lay the foundation for an essential reinvention of the American democracy supported by the increasement of citizens' capacity to engage in their communities.
West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI);
The world is today confronted to a new threat; the novel Coronavirus infection (Covid-19). The virus first broke in China in November 2019, and has since swept across countries, overwhelmed health facilities and brought economies to their knees. As of 2nd June, 2020, the coronavirus is known to have infected more than 6 million people across the globe, claimed over 350 000 lives, and poses an existential threat to humanity.
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
This study focuses primarily on the 'Final Report' of the OAS audit of the election results and shows how the authors of that report misrepresent the data and evidence found in the audit in an attempt to further bolster their claims of intentional manipulation on the part of Bolivia's former electoral authorities. The OAS Final Report identifies many real problems with the management of the elections that should be addressed. However, despite claims to the contrary, it does not provide any evidence that those irregularities altered the outcome of the election, or were part of an actual attempt to do so.
Open Society Foundations;
Tajikistan's current laws regarding drug users and drug policy are a cumbersome mix of recently adopted international obligations and regressive provisions dating back to the Soviet period. With support from the Open Society Global Drug Policy Program and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation-Tajikistan, representatives from the country's Ministry of Health, Drug Control Agency, and civil society organizations analyzed existing drug legislation and bylaws with the aim of identifying areas for improvement.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation;
In 2016, nearly 100 million eligible Americans did not cast a vote for president, representing 43% of the eligible voting-age population. They represent a sizeable minority whose voice is not heard in our representative democracy. Most of our attention, in politics and in research, tends to fall almost exclusively on "likely" voters perceived to make the most difference in the outcome. As a result, relatively little is known about those with a history of non-voting. Yet their non-participation is a key feature of our democracy, and raises important questions about the basic health of a participatory society.
To help understand this large segment of the population, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation commissioned Bendixen & Amandi International to develop a comprehensive study of those who do not vote. This study surveyed 12,000 chronic non-voters nationally and in 10 swing states, soliciting their views, attitudes and behaviors on a wide range of topics. For comparison purposes, a group of 1,000 active voters who consistently participate in national elections and a group of 1,000 young eligible voters (18-24 years old) were also surveyed. Findings were further explored through in-depth conversations with non-voters in focus groups held around the country.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation's Madison Initiative (MI) seeks to strengthen U.S. democracy and its institutions in a time of political polarization. The goal is to help create the conditions in Congress in which its Members can deliberate, negotiate, and compromise in ways that work for most Americans. Launched in 2014, this nonpartisan initiative supports nonprofit organizations across the ideological spectrum—academic researchers, advocacy groups, think tanks, and civic leadership organizations—that seek to understand and improve the political system so that elected representatives are better equipped to solve society's greatest problems and in turn, earn public trust and support. The Hewlett Foundation's board authorized MI to make $15-20 million in grants per year from 2014 to 2021, for a total commitment of $150 million.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace;
In the past two years, the Russian public's appetite for change has increased considerably. A small but growing group of Russians blame President Vladimir Putin for the country's problems, and his capacity to deliver change is now being questioned. Yet the demands for change are taking very different forms, not only in open protests but also through latent discontent, and the public has not identified a specific alternative leader as a potential agent of change.
In July 2019, the Carnegie Moscow Center and the Levada Center, Russia's main independent polling agency, conducted a third poll in two years asking 1,600 Russians about their readiness for change. The results show some striking new trends. A total of 59 percent of respondents—17 percent more than two years before—said that the country needed "decisive comprehensive change" (see Figure 1). The Russian publication of this research in November 2019 attracted a lot of attention from the media and political class. An answer came in January 2020 in a form of constitutional changes and the resignation of the government. In his annual address on January 15, Vladimir Putin said: "Our society is clearly calling for change. People want development. . . . The pace of change must be expedited every year and produce tangible results in attaining worthy living standards that would be clearly perceived by the people. And, I repeat, they must be actively involved in this process."
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
On November 25, a short paper was released purporting to show that there was fraud in the October 20th Bolivian presidential election — and that absent this fraud, the election would have required a second round. However, the authors, Escobari and Hoover produce no credible evidence that the official results of the election should be doubted. Instead, their approach confirms our finding that the expanded MAS margin on the later tally sheets is explained by the mix of precincts considered before and after the interruption of the unofficial TREP count. Their alarm regarding "dosing" was based on a highly distorted presentation of the facts. Instead, careful examination simply reminds us that geography was even more critical to the order in which tally sheets were counted in the cómputo than to the order in the TREP.
In this brief, we replicate the results of Escobari and Hoover, discover errors in their analysis, and eventually find that the approach essentially confirms our own findings that the change in margin was predictable.
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
The OAS final audit of the Bolivian elections, published on December 4th, concludes that there was "intentional manipulation" and "serious irregularities" that make it impossible to verify the results of the election. Members of the de facto government and other critics of former president Evo Morales have used the findings of the OAS audit to corroborate allegations of electoral fraud leveled in the hours and days following the vote. But the following analysis shows that the report itself presents a biased and misleading account of the audit's findings, presenting serious inaccuracies and downplaying or ignoring altogether any evidence that runs counter to the fraud narrative that the OAS has promoted since the day after the election.
This analysis is not meant to serve as a validation of the electoral results themselves. Rather, it is an analysis of the OAS's actual findings and of the neutrality and rigor of the audit itself. This is not about supporting one political party or candidate over another. Nor is it solely about Bolivia. This is about the need for independent electoral observation in the hemisphere, and about accountability for an organization that has abandoned any semblance of neutrality under the leadership of Secretary General Luis Almagro.
Justice Policy Institute;
The Justice Policy Institute is pleased to share our newest report, Restoring Local Control of Parole to the District of Columbia.
In January 2019, the District of Columbia government enlisted the Justice Policy Institute to explore the feasibility of restoring local control of parole and make recommendations for how release decision making can be transferred from the federal government to DC government. Transferring supervision responsibilities and parole decision-making from the federal government back to the District is an ambitious, complicated undertaking. Fortunately, local leadership can draw on a wealth of data, evidence, and experience from other jurisdictions as they evaluate how best to move forward.
This new report highlights the best available research and practice in the parole field, provides 22 recommendations for parole decision-making and supervision, and outlines three options for restoring local control of release decision-making. JPI undertook a series of activities to produce this report. These included:
Interviewing District and federal officials to understand how the current system functions and how best to build upon its strengths.
Speaking with attorneys who handle parole applications to the United States Parole Commission.
Attending community speak-out events and local criminal justice coalition meetings to solicit input from a wide range of community and system stakeholders, including currently and formerly incarcerated people with experience in the District's parole system.
Consulting with experts from multiple organizations that provide technical assistance to help states improve their parole practice, including attending the 2019 Association of Paroling Authorities International Chairs Meeting and Annual Training Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
Examining a broad array of research in academic peer-reviewed journals, technical white papers, and state agency reports.
The recommendations outlined in this report should guide the development and staffing of a new parole board, the criteria for release decision-making, and how individuals are supervised in the community. If the District follows this plan, we believe it has the opportunity to serve as a model jurisdiction for other states. We also hope the report can be useful for jurisdictions currently considering reforms to their parole systems.
Rockefeller Archive Center;
My dissertation examines the role of smart power in U.S.-Spain relations during the Spanish transition to democracy. The archives of the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) held several collections that enriched my analysis of the development of soft power by the United States in Spain. At the archives, I found records on the movement of Pablo Picasso's Guernica from the Museum of Modern Art to the Prado in Madrid, Nelson Rockefeller's impact on the Spanish transition, how the Ford Foundation and Peter Fraenkel helped administer Spanish educational reforms and exchanges of the 1970s, and how human rights played a vital role in the Spanish transition.
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
This paper presents results from statistical analysis of election returns and tally sheets from Bolivia's October 20 elections. This analysis finds no evidence that irregularities or fraud affected the official result that gave President Evo Morales a first-round victory. The paper presents a step-by-step breakdown of what happened with Bolivia's vote counts (both the unofficial quick count, and the slower official count), seeking to dispel confusion over the process. The report includes the results of 500 simulations that show that Morales's first-round victory was not just possible, but probable, based on the results of the initial 83.85 percent of votes in the quick count.