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State of Democracy: Countering Threats and Advancing Voting Rights in the U.S. and California

Thursday, September 27, 2018 -
3:00pm to 5:00pm PDT
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
San Mateo Office | 1300 S El Camino Real | San Mateo, CA 94402
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Access to the ballot and voting rights continue to be threatened in increasing and unprecedented ways. Nearly half the states have enacted new voting restrictions since 2010. These include purging voter rolls, cutting back on early voting, and enacting restrictive voter ID laws, which combine with the impact of partisan gerrymandering and foreign interference in our voting systems to shake electoral integrity. While California has enacted new democracy reforms to encourage voter participation and protect our voting systems, other states are working to make it more difficult for their citizens to vote.

What’s taking place in the national battle over voting rights? What strategies and policies are being used to protect the foundation of our democracy and ensure a fair vote, especially in California? Where is democracy threatened or denied through new restrictions? What impact might the next Supreme Court justice or the midterm elections have? What can funders do to support efforts to “Give Us the Ballot”?

These are among the issues we’ll examine with our two distinguished guests, Ari Berman and Mindy Romero, who will discuss these questions with moderator Monika Bauerlein and engage with meeting participants.

Join us for a reception immediately following the program.


Ari Berman, Senior Reporter, Mother Jones

Ari Berman is a senior reporter at Mother Jones, covering voting rights and a fellow at The Nation Institute. He has written extensively about American politics, voting rights, and the intersection of money and politics. His stories have also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and The Nation, and he is a frequent guest and commentator on MSNBC, C-Span, and NPR. He is the author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America about the history of voting rights since 1965 and Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics.

Mindy Romero, Founder and Director, California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP) at the University of Southern California's Sol Price School of Public Policy 

Mindy Romero is the founder and director of the California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP) at the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, in Sacramento. Romero is a political sociologist and holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on political behavior and race/ethnicity, and seeks to explain patterns of voting and political underrepresentation, particularly among youth and communities of color in California and the U.S. CCEP’s report on implementation of The California Voter’s Choice Act will be released in late September.

(Moderator) Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Moderator Monika Bauerlein is CEO of Mother Jones magazine. Previously, she served as co-editor, spearheading an era of editorial growth and innovation, marked by two National Magazine Awards for general excellence, the addition of a 20-person Washington bureau, and an overhaul of the organization’s digital strategy that grew’s traffic more than tenfold. She has also worked as Mother Jones’ investigative editor, and other roles as a journalist.



Bay Area Democracy Funders, Northern California Grantmakers, Mother Jones Foundation and Silicon Valley Community Foundation