The Weekly Update

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(One) America Declares Its Independence! And lots of opportunities to get involved.

First of all, we would like to congratulate Bridge Alliance member One America Movement for its new status as an independent non-profit organization. This is a significant step for an already powerful organization working towards building a society rooted in connections. You can learn more about their work on their website. Second, I was browsing through Member e-newsletters and was struck by the number of options that exist for people to get involved in the democracy reform movement. A sampling of these opportunities are laid out below in two categories: (1) events and (2) digital calls to action.

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Take a Hike! (We mean that in the best possible way)

The Bridge Alliance family would like to pay its respects to the friends and families of those who lost their lives in the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. We would also like to commemorate and thank the brave souls who put their lives on the line to save the lives of others. On August 6th of this year, activist Renaldo Pearson began a 50 day, 600 mile walk from Atlanta, GA to Washington, D.C. The trek, which is being sponsored by Democracy911, is part of the fight that RepresentUs is leading against corruption in our government. Once he arrives at the Capitol building, Renaldo will demand action from our nation’s leaders. You can follow Renaldo’s journey here. And if you are in the D.C. area and want to join Renaldo for the end of his walk on September 20th and 21st, you can do so by signing up here.

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Get Into the (Civic) Spirit! The Bridge Alliance Welcomes Another!

For me personally, it’s always exciting to hear that yet another respected organization has accepted its invitation to join the Bridge Alliance. It’s even more exciting when it’s an organization that I was already familiar with and admired. That has happened quite a few times since I joined the Bridge Alliance family a couple of years ago, and it happened again last week.

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Civvys Finalists! Two New Members! One Wants Your State to be More Like Oregon

A few years ago, my sister moved from New York City to Oregon with her husband and two children. As you can imagine, moving across the country was not easy. Moving is always inconvenient, and that inconvenience is multiplied several times when you are headed several hours by airplane away from your family. One thing that became more convenient? Voting. Washington is one of three states (along with Oregon and Arizona) that holds elections entirely by mail. And the National Vote at Home Institute -- the leading advocate for mail-in-voting and newest member of the Bridge Alliance family -- thinks you should have that same option.

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Bridge Alliance Members Are Working Hard To Keep YOU Informed

Without informed and engaged citizens like you, there is no democracy movement. From information and ideas comes action in the form of your vote, your thoughtful discussions, your activism and engagement in the democratic process.  Democracy is not a spectator sport! 

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Participatory Budgeting Gets An International Boost

The focus of the Bridge Alliance family is the United States. In fact, as you may have noticed, we rarely -- if ever -- talk about global affairs. This doesn’t mean that Bridge Alliance members limit their work to the USA (Charter for Compassion is active in almost 50 nations!), but when you open the Weekly Update, the overwhelming likelihood is that you’ll learn more about a domestic effort to get our nation back on track.

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Ballotpedia Joins the Bridge Alliance Family

We are excited to announce that the newest member of the Bridge Alliance family is Ballotpedia.  If you have never heard of Ballotpedia, we encourage you to check them out. Ballotpedia’s goal is to inform people about politics by providing accurate and objective information about politics at all levels of government. Moreover, they are firmly committed to neutrality. 

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Good Governance Update: Innovating and Holding Lawmakers Accountable

It’s time for another Democracy Field Overview update! For those who are relatively new to the Weekly Update...approximately once a month we give a quick overview of the latest happenings in one sector of the democracy movement. There are three sectors in all -- Civic Engagement, Electoral Systems & Campaigns, and Governance & Policymaking -- and we rotate through them every three months. This month, we are once again focusing on Governance & Policymaking; a.k.a. Promoting good governance. Bridge Alliance members continue to encourage policymakers to be forward-thinking in both the how and the what of policymaking. First, in terms of how…

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Are Closed Primaries Unconstitutional?

Several members of the Bridge Alliance are fighting for open primaries, including IndependentVoting.org and, of course, Open Primaries. These efforts include pressuring politicians to introduce and pass legislation and trying to get ballot initiatives up for popular vote -- i.e. democratic approaches. While these campaigns have certainly produced results, reformers face a constant up-hill battle against status quo-minded state parties. What if closed primaries are unconstitutional, though? What if the U.S. Constitution protects independent-minded Americans from having to register with a particular party in order to participate in the primary process? According to three legal scholars (including Jeremy Gruber of Open Primaries), that’s precisely the situation. You can hear them make their case on a conference call with IndependentVoting.org on July 29th @ 8:30 PM EDT. Email Cathy Stewart at cathy.stewart5@gmail.com for more information.

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These Groups Are Achieving Success by Bringing People Together

We are living in a time of intense division and isolation. A study released last year found that nearly half of American adults (43%) reported feeling lonely. As humans, we are naturally social creatures and we want to connect with other humans. And when we do connect, the results can be incredible. A number of Bridge Alliance members have done great work connecting and uniting people with a common purpose. In this week’s Update, we focus on four such members whose efforts look very different, but who are each bridging divides within our country:

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