Government “of the people” requires a political system that provides the public with a fair and equal opportunity to influence the direction of their government. Our election and campaign finance systems must provide the public with confidence that their voices can be heard and that they have the ability to hold their leaders to account for their actions.
Burdensome rules and out-of-date systems often lead to elections that lack integrity and create substantial barriers to vote. We need solutions that will make voting more convenient and empower the public servants who run our elections to be more effective. Democracy Fund grantees, like Pew’s Elections Initiatives and MIT’s Voting Technology Project, support the smart use of technology, policy, and best practices in the administration of elections. They serve to create election systems that we can all be proud of — where it’s the will of the public, and not the electoral procedures, that determines the winner.
Recent Supreme Court rulings as well as congressional and executive inaction have left us with a campaign finance system that works for too few. Elected officials may spend almost as much time raising money as they do governing, and the public believes that their voices have little influence compared to those of organized and special interests. We need fixes to our campaign finance system that increase the public’s voice in our political process and reduce the dependency of political leaders on special financial interests.
The Democracy Fund supports unbiased research, promotes bipartisan dialogue, and searches for unconventional solutions that improve our campaign finance and election administration systems. Our aim is to understand and build consensus around those solutions that serve the needs of the American people. Some of our grantees in this area include: Campaign Finance Institute, Committee for Economic Development, Demos, Fund for the Republic, MIT’s Voting Technology Project, Overseas Vote Foundation, Piper Fund’s Collaborative Communications Initiative on Money in Politics, Pew Elections Initiatives, Reinvent Albany, and TurboVote.