Secure Democracy

Type of Activity: General Operating Support 
Grantee: Secure Democracy 
Amount: $400,000 in 2019 over two years

What is Secure Democracy?

Secure Democracy’s mission is to educate policymakers and the public about secure and fair elections. Launched in January 2018, Secure Democracy is designed to address the need for winning state legislative campaigns to defend equitable, fair, and secure voting access for all Americans.

Why do we think this organization is important?

Secure Democracy works to support pro-voter reforms across the country as well as to protect existing policies that enable every individual to cast his or her vote in an accessible and secure way. 

There have been ongoing efforts to suppress the votes of people of color, workers, and other marginalized groups for decades, and as the nation prepares for major elections in 2020 and 2022, those efforts are in full force. From purging voter rolls, to new laws that would disenfranchise voters, to criminalizing minor voting infractions, state policies are being introduced throughout the country that reduce voter access.

A national organization that monitors voter suppression legislation in all 50 states, Secure Democracy has the ability to mobilize quickly and move resources into states that may not have advocacy groups who are ready to defeat voter suppression efforts. In states with Republican-controlled legislatures, Secure Democracy organizes conservative lobbying firms and connects the lobbyists’ efforts with in-state groups focused on applying public pressure to oppose voter suppression legislation. Secure Democracy has a proven track record of engaging state legislatures and working across the aisle to create meaningful policy change. 

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting Secure Democracy? 

In 2019, Democracy Fund Voice approved a two-year grant to Secure Democracy in the amount of $400,000.

Living United for Change in Arizona

Type of Activity: General Operating Support
Grantee: Living United for Change in Arizona
Amount: $100,000 in 2019 over two years

What is Living United for Change in Arizona?

Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) is a membership-led, grassroots organization that builds power with Arizona’s working families to advance social, racial and economic justice for all.

Why do we think this organization is important?

Arizona was an early adopter of online voter registration, and Living United for Change in Arizona is working to bring further voter-centric reforms to the state. There is the opportunity to introduce same-day voter registration, to restore voting rights to returning citizens (formerly convicted persons), and to make changes to ID laws that create barriers to voting for many eligible voters. 

LUCHA’s strong grassroots mobilization capacity, civic engagement work, and advocacy work allows them to play a key role in Arizona election reforms. The work of LUCHA and its partners can help Arizona become a leader for voter-centric policies among the states. 

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting Living United for Change in Arizona? 

In 2019, Democracy Fund Voice approved a two-year grant to Living United for Change in Arizona project in the amount of up to $100,000.

Fair Fight Action

Type of Grant: General Operating Support
Grantee: Fair Fight Action
Amount: $50,000 in 2019

What is Fair Fight Action?

Fair Fight Action works to bring awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in targeted voter education programs and communications.

Why do we think this organization is important?

Fair Fight Action’s efforts to promote fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights are vital to improving voting access.

Fair Fight Action also undertakes important work to educate policymakers and legislators on the harm that legislative and administrative election changes may cause to voters of color, young voters, and others who have historically been disenfranchised.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting Fair Fight Action?

In 2019, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant of $50,000 to Fair Fight Action.

Defending Digital Campaigns

Type of Activity: General Operating Support
Grantee: Defending Digital Campaigns
Amount: $250,000 in 2019

What is Defending Digital Campaigns?

Defending Digital Campaigns (DDC) is a nonprofit and non-partisan organization committed to bringing cybersecurity tools and resources to federal election campaigns. 

Defending Digital Democracy works to make our political process more secure by providing political parties and campaigns with the knowledge, products, and services to defend themselves from cyber threats and attacks.

Why do we think this organization is important?

Defending Digital Campaign provides free and reduced-cost cybersecurity services to campaigns that are operating at the federal, state and local levels.

Election campaigns lack support for cybersecurity even though they are primary targets for cyber attacks from those who would seek to disrupt an election. Establishing a robust and secure system is difficult due to the high cost of products, lack of technical expertise, and the decentralized nature of political campaigns. Defending Digital Campaigns overcomes these challenges by working with credible vendors to obtain access to cybersecurity tools at a lower cost, and by providing education and information sharing for campaigns.  

Ensuring that our elections are safe from outside influence is necessary to maintain the public’s trust in electoral results. For democracy to succeed, voters need to be confident in the integrity of the electoral process.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting Defending Digital Campaigns?

In 2019, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant of $250,000 to Defending Digital Campaigns.

Civic Engagement and Voting Rights Project

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: Color of Change
Amount: $200,000 in 2019 over two years

What is Color of Change?

Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. As a national online force driven by more than 1.5 million members, they move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.

The Civic Engagement and Voting Rights Project is focusing on expanding voter access and ensuring the votes of all Black people count. Their work includes ending voter intimidation and suppression, including Voter ID laws to increase civic engagement before and after elections. Finally, the project works to ensure that the 2020 Census provides full and fair representation of the current US population. 

Why do we think this project is important?

Color of Change works with its 1.6 million members to defend against election policy that would limit access to the ballot for Black voters and advocate for election reform that expands voter access.

This grant will support Color of Change’s Civic Engagement and Voting Rights Project in their efforts to mobilize communities of color around issues of voter suppression throughout 2020 and 2021. During these two years, multiple legislative and administrative decisions about election policy will be made at the state level.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting Color of Change?

In 2019, Democracy Fund Voice approved a two-year grant to Color of Change’s Civic Engagement & Voting Rights project in the amount of $200,000.

Center for Secure and Modern Elections (CSME) Action

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: CSME Action, a project of Sixteen Thirty Fund
Amount: $1,000,000 in 2019 over two years

What is CSME Action?

Center for Secure and Modern Elections (CSME) Action, a project funded by Sixteen Thirty Fund, works to make voting registration easier through pro-voter policy reform advocacy. They are a bipartisan organization dedicated to advancing pro-voter policies at the state level that modernize the voting process and ensure that every eligible voter can have their voice heard. CSME Action supports state-led efforts to defeat bad policies and rules, pivot to strong pro-voter policies, and change the conversation so that both parties engage in pro-voter activities. 

Why do we think this project is important?

CSME Action has extensive expertise in advocating for pro-voter legislation and defending existing voting policies from detrimental changes. 

They advance pro-voter reforms through different strategies, including providing assistance to local leaders who want to modernize their elections for the 21st century — regardless of party affiliation. They also provide resources to support the efforts of organizations and advocates who elevate the voices of individuals negatively impacted by voting registration policies. Because there is a wide range of needs unique to different regions and communities, CSME Action works with community members to identify the right modernization policies for a specific state. This customized approach builds buy-in from local leaders and community members, and ensures that chosen reforms will be the most effective option. 

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting CSME Action?

In 2019, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant of $1,000,000 over two years to Sixteen Thirty Fund to support the Center for Secure and Modern Elections (CSME) Action. 

State Open Records and Voting Rights

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: American Oversight, Inc.
Amount: $200,000 in 2019 over two years

What is American Oversight?

A non-partisan, nonprofit ethics watchdog, American Oversight uses the Freedom of Information Act and public records laws to investigate government misconduct. Once documents have been uncovered and published, they work with the judicial system to end corruption and abuses of power within the government. 

Why do we think this project is important?

We believe that voting rights must be protected against voter suppression efforts. Greater transparency into how legislative and administrative election changes are made can deter attempts to disenfranchise voters. American Oversight enables greater transparency by requesting access to state government records and using the legal system to obtain documents when necessary. They make all of this information available to the public, shining a light on voter suppression attempts.

Through the course of their work, American Oversight has found that increased transparency can influence the actions of public officials who realize that their work and communications will be available for public scrutiny. This grant will support American Oversight’s current efforts to uncover paper trails behind concerted efforts to undermine the right to vote. 

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting American Oversight?

In 2019, Democracy Fund Voice approved a two-year grant of $200,000 to American Oversight.

Alliance for Safety and Justice

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: Alliance for Safety and Justice, a project of Tides Center
Amount: $20,000 in 2019 

What is the Alliance for Safety and Justice?

The Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ), a fiscally sponsored project of the Tides Center, works with leaders and advocates to reform the justice system through coalition building, research, education and advocacy.

A multi-state organization,  ASJ aims to replace over-incarceration with new safety solutions rooted in prevention, rehabilitation and support for crime victims. Their work is focused on the largest incarceration states; they partner with state leaders and advocates to implement policy advocacy, organizing, coalition building, research and strategic communications.

Why do we think this project is important?

ASJ’s work on rights restoration and broader criminal justice reform helps build a movement of returning citizens and allies, and mobilizes them to tell the story of rights restoration in Florida and protect the re-enfranchisement of Floridians living with past convictions.

Democracy Fund Voice believes that in order to build a responsive political system in which the public comes first, barriers to voting must be removed. Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, and any time a group of people are disenfranchised, there is a cost to the health of our political system. 

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting Alliance for Safety and Justice?

In 2019, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant to Alliance for Safety and Justice in the amount of $20,000.

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Education Fund

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Education Fund, a project of Tides Foundation
Amount: $225,000 in 2019 over two years

What is the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Education Fund? 

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Education Fund (FRRCEF), a fiscally sponsored project of Tides Foundation, is a grassroots, membership organization run by returning citizens who work to promote ex-felon re-enfranchisement and successful re-entry into society. Their work supports the implementation of voting rights restoration in Florida following the passage of Amendment 4. 

Why do we think this project is important? 

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Education Fund (FRRCEF) leads the movement to restore voting rights to 1.6 million nonviolent returning citizens (formerly convicted persons) in Florida. We believe this is an important opportunity to ensure these citizens can fully participate in American democracy by removing barriers to registration and voting. Research suggests that restoration of voting rights has multiple effects on individuals and society, including more effective re-entry and decreased recidivism.

With Democracy Fund’s support, FRRCEF is addressing implementation of the law, communications around the benefits of the law, and other important efforts of FRRCEF.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting the project? 

In 2019 Democracy Fund Voice approved a two-year grant to FRRCEF’s fiscal sponsor, the Tides Foundation, in the amount of $250,000. A previous grant was made in 2018 in the amount of $200,000.

Protecting the Right to Protest Fund

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: Proteus Action League
Amount: $100,000 in 2019

What is Proteus Action League?

The Protecting the Right to Protest Fund, a project of Proteus Action League, is a rapid response fund to state groups combating legislation that would restrict the freedom to assemble. In addition, they coordinate a national network of organizations that serve as support to local actors.

Why do we think this project is important?

Peaceful protest is a quintessential exercise of the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. Throughout American history, protest has been a key strategy to hold the government accountable to the people and to advance democracy. In recent years, state and federal threats to peaceful protest have mounted, including legislation ranging from significantly increased civil fines for protestors and increased criminal penalties for specific forms of protest.

In response to these bills, the Protect the Right to Protest fund is able to quickly disperse grants to organizations to conduct public education, engage their communities, and advocate for freedom of assembly. By coordinating the Protect Dissent Network, the Protect the Right to Protest Fund also provides support to state groups and works collaboratively to protect this fundamental Constitutional right.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting Proteus Action League?

In 2019, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant to Proteus Action League in the amount of $100,000 to support their project, Protecting the Right to Protest Fund. A previous grant of $100,000 was made in 2018.