- Protecting Freedom, Protecting Rights, Protecting Democracy Nation-by-Nation
Mapping Internet Freedom - Democracy Status
In the USA
Open-source access to law and democratic institutions
Cornell Law School - Legal Information Institute
Everyone should be able to read and understand the laws that govern them, without cost. We carry out this vision by:
- Publishing law online, for free.
- Creating materials that help people understand law.
- Exploring new technologies that make it easier for people to find the law.
Wiki Ballotpedia (U.S.)
An Indictment Is Announced: The United States of America versus Donald J. Trump, defendant
The people of the US and world are hearing today's news. Reverberations echo. The former president has been charged with federal crimes of grave consequence -- attempting to obstruct the outcome of the 2020 US election for president and attempting to defraud the people of the United States and the democratic republic.
One notable attorney put the profound news this way: Read the Indictment yourself. We agree. There comes a time to turn to what is being presented, now, solemnly, words, facts, evidence, law... The path ahead is perilous, but necessary to travail.
Set aside an hour or two, or find ten minutes here and there over the course of the next week. You’ll understand it better if you read it for yourself. The indictment is written in a manner that makes it clear prosecutors wanted it to be comprehensible to anyone who wanted to read it.
United States Department of Justice
Statement of Special Counsel Jack Smith, August 1, 2023
Moore v. Harper, Decided by the Supreme Court of the United States
OYEZ OYEZ OYEZ
After the historic, precedent-setting, and widely disputed Supreme Court decision of 2000 that delivered the presidency of the US to George W. Bush, the 2023 court decision to determine the legality of the “independent state legislature theory” was closely watched. The history of precedent and law, facts and future of democracy were all headlined in the news. The swing of the court would determine the form of democratic republican government, acting to define free and fair elections without voter suppression, annulment, or manipulation through gerrymandering/redistricting and partisan manipulation.
The court's decision announced on June 27, 2023 was an affirmation for democratic traditions and, as such, sends a message to ensure a fair, legal outcome of elections in 2024.
The January 2021 Washington DC attack on the US Capitol and failed attempt to block the 2020 election is now further addressed. The insurrection, and political disinformation that led to it, will now have to face a SCOTUS ruling that empowers democracy.
The 2024 election for president has now, in 2023, looked at the consequences of empowering a precedent-setting independent state legislature theory -- and rejected it.
The court ruling came with a 6-3 vote.
Electoral Count Reform Act
The Electoral Count Reform Act addresses vulnerabilities exposed by the efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election...
In December 2022, Congress passed the Electoral Count Reform Act to overhaul the poorly drafted 1887 Electoral Count Act, which governs the process of appointing presidential electors and tallying their votes. The law seeks to fix confusing and ambiguous provisions in the original law that helped pave the way for the unprecedented attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election, culminating in the January 6 assault on the Capitol.
What is the Electoral College, and how many votes are needed to win?
Read the Brennan Law Center explanation of the new law here
On-the-street investment reality -- and push back from reactionary lobbies
On Wall St., ‘Socially Responsible’ Is Common Sense. In Congress, It’s Political
- Lawmakers are trying to restrict these investment choices in workplace retirement plans, but big fund managers are trying to give shareholders a voice
Via the New York Timews
March 4, 2023
In the financial world, trillions of dollars have been placed in investments that take E.S.G. issues into account. “E.S.G. investing is now totally mainstream,” said Jon Hale, head of sustainable investing research for Morningstar. “It’s part of the thinking of every major investment company because, at its core, it’s just common sense.”
It’s not far-fetched to believe that under the Labor Department rules, and a few further changes, consistently applied, it may be possible one day for you to use your hard-earned retirement money to influence big companies to curb their carbon emissions.
“There are many approaches within E.S.G. investing,” said Tim Smith, a senior policy adviser and founding staff member at the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, who was present at the creation of the socially responsible investing movement. “It’s now a very big tent."
Double Voter Turnout in the US with On-cycle Elections
Many election reforms—gerrymandering bans, ranked choice voting, proportional representation—are controversial. Winning them is a daunting prospect. But one is snoozingly uncontroversial among US voters, even while it boosts turnout more than any other change scholars have studied.
That reform is election consolidation: rescheduling local elections to occur with national and state elections in even years (often referred to as “on-cycle elections”). Nationwide, researchers have found that local voter turnout generally doubles when elections move from off-cycle to on-cycle contests...
When an election consolidation plan comes before voters, it usually passes by a wide margin and with little debate. To voters, synchronizing elections is a no-brainer. There should be one general Election Day, they believe, and it should be the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of even years. The primary election should precede it by a few months.
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The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol
December 19, 2022
After more than a year of interviewing witnesses, gathering evidence and holding public meetings, the House select committee concluded its final hearing on Monday by referring former President Donald Trump for four criminal charges.
The panel voted unanimously to refer Trump and others to the Justice Department on charges of obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make a false statement and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by assisting, aiding or comforting those involved in an insurrection.
Key Findings From the Jan. 6 Committee’s Report, Annotated
December 5, 2022
'Thought for the Day' by Steve Clemons
“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” That is the beginning of the oath new members of the Senate and the House will be asked to take on January 3, but will they? Donald Trump said over the weekend that we should suspend the Constitution to illegally reinstall himself as president. We’ll find out where leading Republican voices stand this week, who will get another round of questions about whether his latest behavior is disqualifying.
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Representative Jamie Raskin Speaks of FairVote and Democracy
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In the United States, Democracy and Democratic traditions at risk
As the U.S. November 8, 2022 midterm election approaches, President gives a 'preserve and protect' Democracy speech that receives wide media coverage, apart from unsurprising Fox network negative coverage. Without doubt, one can predict that if the U.S. Congress turns, as a result of election returns, to a Republican party controlled body then the result will be years of chaotic governance. November 8th is ... a “defining moment” for democracy as voter intimidation and political violence loom over the upcoming elections.
Here, for history to record, consider and remember, is President Biden's November 2, 2022 Democracy speech:
Preserving and Protecting Our Democracy (Transcript)
President Joe Biden (00:00):
Good evening everyone. Just a few days ago, a little before 2:30 AM in the morning, a man smashed the back windows and broke into the home of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the third highest ranking official in America. He carried in his backpack zip ties, duct tape, rope, and a hammer. As he told the police, he’d come looking for Nancy Pelosi to take her hostage, to interrogate her, to threaten to break her kneecaps, but she wasn’t there. Her husband, my friend, Paul Pelosi, was home alone. The assailant tried to take Paul hostage. He woke him up, he wanted to tie him up. The assailant ended up using a hammer to smash Paul’s skull. Thankfully, by the grace of God, Paul survived.
All this happened after the assault and it just, it’s hard to even say. It’s hard to even say. After the assailant entered the home asking, “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?” Those are the very same words used by the mob when they stormed the United States Capitol on January the 6th, when they broke windows, kicked in the doors, brutally attacked law enforcement, roamed the corridors hunting for officials, and erected gallows to hang the former Vice President of Mike Pence. It was an enraged mob that had been whipped up into a frenzy by a president repeating over and over again the big lie that the election of 2020 had been stolen.
It’s a lie that fueled the dangerous rise in political violence and voter intimidation over the past two years. Even before January the 6th, we saw election officials and election workers in a number of states subject to menacing calls, physical threats, even threats to their very lives. In Georgia, for example, the Republican Secretary of State and his family were subjected to death threats because he refused to break the law and give in to the defeated president’s demand, just find him 11,780 votes. “Just find me 11,780 votes.” Election workers like Shaye Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, were harassed and threatened just because they had the courage to do their job and stand up for the truth, to stand up for our democracy.
This institution, this intimidation, this violence against Democrats, Republicans, and non-partisan officials just doing their jobs are the consequence of lies told for power and profit, lies of conspiracy and malice, lies repeated over and over to generate a cycle of anger, hate, vitriol, and even violence. In this moment, we have to confront those lies with the truth. The very future of our nation depends on it. My fellow Americans, we’re facing a defining moment, an inflection point. We must, with one overwhelming unified voice, speak as a country and say there’s no place, no place for voter intimidation or political violence in America, whether it’s directed at Democrats or Republicans. No place, period. No place ever.
I speak today near Capitol Hill, near the US Capitol, the citadel of our democracy. I know there’s a lot at stake in these midterm elections. From our economy, the safety of our streets, to our personal freedoms, the future of healthcare, social security, Medicare, it’s all important, but we’ll have our differences. We’ll have our difference of opinion, and that’s what it’s supposed to be. But there’s something else at stake; democracy itself. I’m not the only one who sees it. Recent polls have shown that overwhelming majority of Americans believe our democracy is at risk, that our democracy is under threat. They too see that democracy is on the ballot this year and they’re deeply concerned about it.
So today, I appeal to all Americans, regardless of party, to meet this moment of national and generational importance, we must vote knowing what’s at stake, and not just the policy of the moment, but institutions that have held us together as we’ve sought a more perfect union are also at stake. We must vote knowing who we have been, what we’re at risk of becoming. Look, my fellow Americans, the old expression, freedom is not free, it requires constant vigilance. From the very beginning, nothing has been guaranteed about democracy in America. Every generation has had to defend it, protect it, preserve it, choose it, for that’s what democracy is. It’s a choice, a decision of the people by the people and for the people.
The issue couldn’t be clearer in my view. We, the people, must decide whether we’ll have fair and free elections and every vote counts. We, the people, must decide whether we’re going to sustain a republic where reality is accepted, the law is obeyed, and your vote is truly sacred. We, the people, must decide whether the rule of law will prevail, whether we will allow the dark forces that thirst for power put ahead of the principles that we’ve long guided us. American democracy is under attack because the defeated former president of the United States refused to accept the results of the 2020 election. He refuses to accept the will of the people. He refuses to accept the fact that he lost. He has abused his power and put the loyalty to himself before loyalty to the Constitution. And he’s made a big lie, an article of faith in the MAGA Republican Party, the minority of that party.
The great irony about the 2020 election is that it’s the most attacked election in our history, and yet, and yet there’s no election in our history that we can be more certain of its results. Every legal challenge that could have been brought was brought. Every recount that could have been undertaken was undertaken. Every recount confirmed the results. Wherever fact or evidence had been demanded, the big lie has been proven to be just that; a big lie, every single time. Yet now, extreme MAGA Republicans aim to question not only the legitimacy of past elections, but elections being held now and into the future. The extreme MAGA element of the Republican party, which is a minority of that party as I said earlier, but it’s its driving force, is trying to succeed where they failed in 2020 to suppress the right of voters and subvert the electoral system itself. That means denying your right to vote and deciding whether your vote even counts.
Instead of waiting until an election is over, they’re starting well before it. They’re starting now. They’ve emboldened violence and intimidation of voters and election officials. It’s estimated that there are more than 300 election deniers on the ballot all across America, this year. We can’t ignore the impact this is having on our country. It’s damaging, it’s corrosive, and it’s destructive. And I want to be very clear, this is not about me, it’s about all of us. It’s about what makes America America. It’s about the durability of our democracy. For democracies are more than a form of government, they’re a way of being, a way of seeing the world, a way that defines who we are, what we believe, why we do what we do. Democracy is simply that fundamental, we must in this moment dig deep within ourselves and recognize that we can’t take democracy for granted any longer.
With democracy on the ballot, we have to remember these first principles. Democracy means the rule of the people, not the rule of monarchs or the monied, but the rule of the people. Autocracy is the opposite of democracy. It means the rule of one, one person, one interest, one ideology, one party. To state the obvious, the lives of billions of people from antiquity till now have been shaped by the battle between these competing forces, between the aspirations of the many and the greed and power of the few, between the people’s right for self-determination and the self-seeking autocrat, between the dreams of a democracy and the appetites of an autocracy. What we’re doing now is going to determine whether democracy will long endure. It, in my view, is the biggest of questions. Within the American system, the prize is the individual bends towards justice and depends, depends on the rule of law, whether that system will prevail.
This is the struggle we’re now in, a struggle for democracy, a struggle for decency and dignity, a struggle for prosperity and progress, a struggle for the very soul of America itself. Make no mistake, democracy is on the ballot for all of us. You must remember that democracy is a covenant. We need to start looking out for each other again, seeing ourselves as we, the people, not as entrenched enemies. This is a choice we can make. Disunion and chaos are not inevitable.
There’s been anger before in America. There’s been division before in America, but we’ve never given up on the American experiment and we can’t do that now. The remarkable thing about American democracy is this, just enough of us on just enough occasions have chosen not to dismantle democracy, but to preserve democracy. We must choose that path again. Because democracy is on the ballot, we have to remember that even in our darkest moments, there are fundamental values and beliefs that unite us as Americans and they must unite us now. What are they? Well, I think first, we believe the vote in America is sacred, to be honored, not denied, respected, not dismissed, counted, not ignored. A vote is not a partisan tool to be counted when it helps your candidates and tossed aside when it doesn’t.
Second, we must, with an overwhelming voice, stand against political violence and voter intimidation, period. Stand up and speak against it. We don’t settle our differences in America with a riot, a mob, or a bullet, or a hammer, we settle them peaceably at the ballot box. We have to be honest with ourselves though. We have to face this problem. We can’t turn away from it. We can’t pretend it’s just going to solve itself. There’s an alarming rise in the number of our people in this country condoning political violence or simply remaining silent because silence is complicity. The disturbing rise of voter intimidation, the pernicious tendency to excuse political violence, or at least, at least trying to explain it away. We can’t allow this sentiment to grow. We must confront it head on now. It has to stop now. I believe the voices excusing or calling for violence and intimidation are a distinct minority in America, but they’re loud and they are determined. We have to be more determined. All of us who reject political violence and voter intimidation, and I believe that’s the overwhelming majority of the American people, all of us must unite to make it absolutely clear that violence and intimidation have no place in America.
And third, we believe in democracy. That’s who we are as Americans. I know it isn’t easy. Democracy isn’t perfect, it always has been. We are all called to defend it now, now. History and common sense tell us that liberty, opportunity, and justice thrive in a democracy, not in an autocracy. At our best, America is not a zero sum society or for you to succeed, someone else has to fail. I promise America’s big enough, it’s big enough for everyone to succeed. Every generation opening the door of opportunity just a little bit wider. Every generation, including those who’ve been excluded before. We believe we should leave no one behind, because each one of us is a child of God and every person, every person is sacred. If that’s true, then every person’s rights must be sacred as well. Individual dignity, individual worth, individual determination. That’s America, that’s democracy, and that’s what we have to defend.
Look, even as I speak here tonight, 27 million people have already cast their ballot in the midterm elections. Millions more will cast their ballots in the final days leading up to November the 9th, 8th, excuse me, and for the first time, this is the first time since the national election of 2020, once again we’re seeing record turnout all over the country, and that’s good. We want Americans to vote. We want every American’s voice to be heard. Now we have to move the process forward. We know that more and more ballots are cast in early voting or by mail in America and we know that many states don’t start counting those ballots till after the polls close on November 8th. That means in some cases we won’t know the winner of the election until a few days after the election. It takes time to count all legitimate ballots in a legal and orderly manner. It’s always been important for citizens in democracy to be informed and engaged. Now it’s important for citizens to be patient as well. That’s how this is supposed to work.
This is also the first election since the events of January 6th when the armed angry mob stormed the US Capitol. I wish, I wish I could say the assault on democracy had ended that day, but I cannot. As I stand here today, there are candidates running for every level of office in America for Governor, Congress, Attorney General, Secretary of State who won’t commit, they will not commit to accepting the results of election that they’re running in. This is a path to chaos in America. It’s unprecedented, it’s unlawful, and it’s un-American.
As I’ve said before, you can’t love your country only when you win. This is no ordinary year, so I ask you to think long and hard about the moment we’re in. In a typical year, we’re often not faced with questions of whether the vote we cast will preserve democracy or put us at risk, but this year we are. This year I hope you’ll make the future of our democracy an important part of your decision to vote and how you vote. I hope you’ll ask a simple question of each candidate you might vote for. Will that person accept the legitimate will of the American people, of the people voting in his district or her district? Will that person accept the outcome of the election, win or lose? The answer to that question is vital, and in my opinion, it should be decisive. On the answer to that question hangs the future of the country we love so much and the fate of the democracy that has made so much possible for us.
Too many people have sacrificed too much for too many years for us to walk away from the American project in democracy. Because we’ve enjoyed our freedoms for so long, it’s easy to think they’ll always be with us no matter what. But that isn’t true today. In our bones, we know democracy is at risk, but we also know this; it’s within our power, each and every one of us, to preserve our democracy, and I believe we will. I think I know this country. I know we will. You have the power. It’s your choice, it’s your decision. The fate of the nation, the fate of the soul of America lies where it always does, with the people, in your hands, in your heart, in your ballot. My fellow Americans, we will meet this moment. We just need to remember who we are. We are the United States of America. There’s nothing, nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together.
May God bless you all. May God protect our troops. May God bless those standing guard over our democracy. Thank you and Godspeed.
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U.S. President Biden warns that Ex-President Trump's extreme MAGA Republicans are a 'danger' to U.S. democracy
A speech about Democracy -- and protecting Democracy and the Republic
At Independence Hall, site of President Biden's speech
President Biden delivered a speech on the “soul of the nation” Thursday evening in Philadelphia, with its famed Independence Hall as the backdrop. It’s far from the first presidential speech at the historic building. Here’s a primer on Independence Hall’s origins, transformations and key moments throughout its 269-year history.
Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence was approved in July 1776 and where the Founders debated and wrote the Constitution in the summer of 1787. It’s where the Liberty Bell rang and where George Washington was named commander in chief of the Continental Army at the start of the Revolutionary War. In 1797, he made his final public appearance as president next door at Congress Hall — which together with Independence Hall is now part of Independence National Historic Park...
Via Tom Nichols
"A speech no president should have to give"
CNN's John Harwood covers the speech -- then departs from a newly configured CNN
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January 6, 2022
Biden decries Trump backers’ ‘dagger at throat’ of democracy
Jan. 6: Trump hits back, saying Biden trying to 'further divide America' to distract from failures:
Trump called Biden's Jan. 6 speech 'political theater'
America’s living presidents — save one — warn about the danger our democracy faces
Biden condemns Trump as a threat to democracy in speech marking one year since January 6 attack
Capitol Events Commemorate Jan. 6 Attack as Biden Blames Trump’s ‘Web of Lies’
'Darkest day' -- Politicians speak on anniversary of U.S. Capitol attack
No time for platitudes as Biden gives sharpest denunciation of Trump yet:
This was the moment the president realized the clear and present danger posed to US democracy by an ex-leader gone rogue
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Bringing a Critical Eye to the 'Summit for Democracy' & Role of a Free (and Thriving) Press
“Given the increasing challenges journalists face all around the world, is it time to rebuild journalism, not simply as a media sector, but as a piece of essential infrastructure for any functioning democracy?” the agenda states.
Yes... yes. Yes and yes, but how?
“What would a New Deal for journalism look like, and what national and international commitments are required to foster consistently independent, reliable, accessible and compelling public-interest journalism all around the world?”
Focusing on Dangers to Democracy Around the World & Clear & Present Danger to Democracy in the U.S.
November 22, 2021
Report: Democracy backsliding across the world amid pandemic
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (Associated Press / AP) — Democracy is deteriorating across the world, with countries notably taking undemocratic and unnecessary actions to contain the coronavirus pandemic, an intergovernmental body said in its new report Monday.
“Many democratic governments are backsliding," the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, or International IDEA, said.
The 34-nation organization added that as of August 2021, 64% of countries have taken an action to curb the pandemic that it considers “disproportionate, unnecessary or illegal."
The Swedish-based body added that the situation is also getting worse in countries that are not democratic. Autocratic regimes have become “even more brazen in their repression,” free speech has been restricted and the rule of law has been weakened, it said.
In its flagship report on the state of democracy, International IDEA said the number of backsliding democracies has doubled in the past decade...
The report comes ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden’s Dec. 9-10 virtual “summit for democracy” aimed at gathering government, civil society and private sector leaders in what Biden has cast as a global faceoff against rising autocratic forces.
United States Department of State Organizes 'Summit for Democracy' - December 9-10, 2021
Democracy Summit / Agenda Goals:
- Defending against authoritarianism
- Addressing and fighting corruption
- Promoting respect for human rights
Global State of Democracy Report 2021
Building Resilience in a Pandemic Era
The world is becoming more authoritarian.
The world is becoming more authoritarian as non-democratic regimes become even more brazen in their repression and many democratic governments suffer from backsliding by adopting their tactics of restricting free speech and weakening the rule of law, exacerbated by what threatens to become a "new normal" of Covid-19 restrictions. For the fifth consecutive year, the number of countries moving in an authoritarian direction exceeds the number of countries moving in a democratic direction. In fact, the number moving in the direction of authoritarianism is three times the number moving towards democracy.
Global State of Democracy Report 2021 - Key Facts and Findings
- The number of countries moving in an authoritarian direction in 2020 outnumbered those going in a democratic direction. The pandemic has prolonged this existing negative trend into a five-year stretch, the longest such period since the start of the third wave of democratization in the 1970s.
- Democratically elected governments, including established democracies, are increasingly adopting authoritarian tactics. This democratic backsliding has often enjoyed significant popular support.
- Some of the most worrying examples of backsliding are found in some of the world’s largest countries (Brazil, India). The United States and three members of the European Union (EU) (Hungary, Poland and Slovenia, which holds the chair of the EU in 2021) have also seen concerning democratic declines.
- Authoritarianism is deepening in non-democratic regimes (hybrid and authoritarian regimes). The year 2020 was the worst on record, in terms of the number of countries affected by deepening autocratization. The pandemic has thus had a particularly damaging effect on non-democratic countries, further closing their already reduced civic space.
- Electoral integrity is increasingly being questioned, often without evidence, even in established democracies. The former US President Donald Trump’s baseless allegations during the 2020 US presidential election have had spillover effects, including in Brazil, Mexico, Myanmar and Peru, among others.
- The uneven global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, as well as anti-vaccine views, undermine the uptake of vaccination programmes and risk prolonging the health crisis and normalizing restrictions on basic freedoms.
IDEA / Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance -- Democracy Resources
Facts On-the-Ground -- 'Democratic Backsliding'
Democracy Backsliding Across the World / AP
As Democracy 'Backslides' in the U.S.
The United States has joined an annual list of 'backsliding Democracies' for the first time, the International IDEA think-tank said on Monday, pointing to a 'visible deterioration' that it said began in 2019. Globally, more than one in four people live in a backsliding democracy, a proportion that rises to more than two in three with the addition of authoritarian or 'hybrid' regimes, according to the Stockholm-based International for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.
Democratic Challenges in the U.S.
"We can't have a democracy as we know it without a free press, and that's why Poynter is so important."
Independent Journalism -- Informing, Educating, Democracy in Action
- Fact Finding & Informed, Knowledgeable Democratic Decision Making
- http://www.politifact.com/ | PolitiFact via Poynter
- https://www.poynter.org/ifcn/ | Poynter Int'l Fact Checking Network
- http://www.poynter.org/category/fact-checking/ | Poynter Int'l List
- Fact Finding, Fact Checking & the '3 Ds' -- Discussion, Debate & Decision-Making
Online Civic Organizing and Democratic Action
Protecting and Expanding a Rights Agenda
Democracy in an Online 360 World
This category has the following 35 subcategories, out of 35 total.
Pages in category "Democracy"
The following 71 pages are in this category, out of 71 total.
Media in category "Democracy"
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