Democracy Rising seeks to create a democracy where all communities have political equity and are fully able to participate in shaping policy and holding elected officials accountable.
Democracy Rising works directly with community groups advancing democracy reform to build effective organizing, education, and advocacy strategies and to ensure just implementation.
Over the last several years, electoral reform has captured more focus in the national dialogue than ever before. In particular, ranked-choice voting (RCV) has emerged as an election reform that is gaining support at a rapid pace across the country. Many cities are adopting and implementing RCV, and viable campaigns are underway in several more cities and states. The most effective RCV advocacy efforts have dedicated time and resources to building strong and diverse organizations and coalitions at the outset. The ability to channel people power into healthy organizations is essential to leveraging this opportunity.
Democracy Rising is a program of More Equitable Democracy, a fiscally sponsored project of Proteus Fund.
WHAT WE DO
Democracy Rising works in partnership with organizations on the ground to provide:
Technical assistance, training, coaching, and resources to facilitate successful and sustainable education and advocacy efforts.
Support local groups to ensure smooth and successful RCV implementations using best practices from other jurisdictions.
Together or individually, Democracy Rising Directors Maria Perez and Grace Ramsey have worked on campaigns to adopt or implement ranked choice voting in Maine, Alaska, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Oakland, Bloomington, Minnetonka, Santa Fe, Benton County, Las Cruces, New York City, Eastpointe, Yakima, 23 cities across the state of Utah, and in the 4 states (AK, KS, HI, and WY) where the Democratic party used ranked ballots for their 2020 presidential primaries.
Born and raised in Ecuador, Maria immigrated to the United States in the 1990s to pursue her education. She has crafted a career guided by her passion to address social disparities. A seasoned non-profit leader, organizer, facilitator, advocate, educator, and coalition builder, Maria is a firm believer in the power of people coming together to address complex social problems. She spent over ten years as a healthcare practitioner, before turning to policy, equity, and advocacy work, which she has been doing for the past eight years. She served as Campaign Lead and later as Interim Hub Manager for the California Endowment’s project Building Healthy Communities (East Oakland), Director of FairVote New Mexico, and more recently as Campaign Manager for Common Cause New Mexico. She is a national expert on the issue of ranked choice voting. She believes that democracy is the ultimate health equity indicator. She founded the firm Democracy in Action, which works at the intersection of equity and democracy in 2019.
When Grace was growing up in Wisconsin, her mother managed constituent affairs in the office of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold. Seeing her mother work diligently to assist constituents, regardless of party or who they voted for, and the bold policies pursued by Senator Feingold such as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, showed her that a healthy democracy serves its people and requires care and upkeep. Grace brings over 7 years experience working on RCV advocacy and implementation campaigns across the country. She began her career as an organizer with FairVote Minnesota’s Rank Your Vote campaign, went on to become Deputy Director of Outreach at FairVote, and led voter education and organizing campaigns as a consultant with Democracy in Action. Over the course of several years and many campaigns she has come to deeply understand and appreciate the power of community organizing and has solidified her belief that a strong democracy is one that evolves to better serve the people. Grace specializes in voter engagement and education, leadership development, strategic planning, and program management.
With more jurisdictions around the country opting to implement ranked-choice voting, elections administrators and civic engagement groups need to effectively communicate about how to express their preferences with a new ballot design. More Equitable Democracy and Democracy Rising worked with partners in three states to conduct focus group research in multiple languages. The final reports detail findings about how immigrants view representative democracy, understand the process of ranking preferences, and how to produce engaging voter education materials.