In late 2020, in some of the darkest days of the COVID pandemic, one of our Open Democracy Team members proposed an "Open Democracy Book Club." To our surprise, 300 citizens registered for the first book and discussion in January. Certainly, the pandemic gave us some time at home to read, but the hunger to learn about the problems and how to fix them was there already.
We've been fortunate in our first months to have the authors of each of our books with us via Zoom for a few minutes to help us grapple with our three guiding questions about the sad status of our Democracy:
Where are we?
How did we get here?
What do we do about it?
You'll hear these words echoed from book to book, as we all figure out what actions we can take to get our Democracy fixed and return power to the people.
Books and Discussions
We work on a new book every six weeks or so, culminating with a discussion. We have the author speak for 30 minutes, then break up into Zoom breakout rooms for small group discussions, usually facilitated by an Open Democracy staff member or volunteer.
If you didn't get to the book this month, you should still come for the author discussion and the small group discussions, which have been full of smart discussion and information.
Our Next Book!
Go HERE to RSVP for the October 14, 2021 discussion of Stacy Abrams Our Time is Now. There is a full description and ordering information.
How to Get the Book
While there's no cost for being a part of the Open Democracy Book Club, it's up to you to get the book. On the RSVP page for each of the events, we'll post information about the book, including the author's bio and ISBN number and other info you'll need to find it. We encourage you to order it through your local bookseller, but you order any way you wish.
Sign Up Below
We'll notify you of the new book, the date of the discussion, and sometimes discussion questions. You'll also be added to the Open Democracy Book Club email discussion, where you'll be able to ask questions and have discussions with your fellow readers.
NH's Reputation as a Leader in Fair Elections May Be in Jeopardy - New Hampshire is fortunate to have higher than average civic engagement. Our state leaders often point to our status as the first-in-the-nation Presidential primary and our well-run elections as proof of the Granite State's exceptional civic involvement. In March 2021, Governor Sununu recently called New Hampshire "the gold standard" for its electoral system.
Recently, though, proposed laws creating deliberate barriers to voting in New Hampshire have tarnished its national reputation. National press reports now include New Hampshire in the same breath as Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina and other states known for their anti-voting bills targeting people of color, students and younger voters, the disabled, elders and other groups.
NH Needs an Educated, Civically-Engaged Workforce - Businesses and organizations large and small depend on an educated, civically-engaged workforce. In the 2011 U.S. Census, NH ranked as the 9th oldest state in the nation, and is again experiencing acute workforce shortages. The State of New Hampshire has recognized this, and supported programs like Stay, Work, Play NH to retain younger workers. We have excellent colleges, an amazing array of recreational activities, and cutting edge employers looking for employees.
Problem is, should New Hampshire's reputation slip further due to implementation of additional deliberate barriers to voting, students, younger workers, talent being recruited from out of state, and even companies considering expanding here may think long and hard before making a commitment.
Legislators Must Hear that Businesses Support a Healthy Democracy - Below is "Statement of Principles to Support New Hampshire's Democracy." We're asking your organization to consider signing on to these principles, which we will communicate to the whole of the New Hampshire legislature and executive branch.
We stand by to answer your questions about the Statement of Principles, or our nonpartisan, pro-voter organization, or to hear your suggestions and comments.
The Coalition for Open Democracy, a New Hampshire 501c3 nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which works on pro-voter democracy reforms.
Statement of Principles
by New Hampshire Businesses and Organizations which support a healthy democracy
I. We believe that a NH government of, by, and for its citizens must safeguard the precious freedom to vote for ALL of its eligible citizens.
II. For the NH Government to truly represent its citizens, it must guarantee universally accessible and secure voting, and ensure there are no existing or future barriers to exercise that right.
III. We will not support, with our contributions or our votes, any candidates or elected representatives who initiate, vote for, or support laws that make voting more difficult for NH citizens. Nor shall we support those who oppose laws to make the voting process more efficient.
IV. Just as true prosperity in NH requires that all businesses play on a level playing field, we must have a level playing field for our elections and politics. Our NH voting districts must be based on valid census information and be free of manipulation by partisan voting data, and to ensure this, the redistricting process must be public, and its methods disclosed.
V. Together, we believe that when the electoral system is fair, and the constitutional rights and values of our citizens are honored, our NH Government will truly be “of the people," our economy will be prosperous, and both will work for the greater good of all.
This statement and its signers will be communicated to
The Governor, the Executive Council, the NH Senate and House, and the NH Secretary of State
An internship with Open Democracy means you'll do meaningful work and be part of a team who will be depending on you, not grunge work and getting coffee. Democracy reform work is no picnic. You'll work hard, but know how that hard work fits into the larger work we do in New Hampshire and the United States to fix our broken Democracy. Because our elected representatives are influenced by the Big Money donors on whom they depend to get elected, no matter what your issue is Climate Change, clean air & water, voting rights, pipelines, peace, Big Money is blocking the change. You can be part of ending that influence.
Open Democracy Organizing Fellows
Student Internships - Summer or Fall 2021
Who We Are
Open Democracy is a New Hampshire-based nonpartisan organization working for campaign finance reform and ending Big Money politics, and increase civic engagement and in the Granite State. Founded by America’s campaign finance reformer, Doris “Granny D” Haddock (1910-2010), Open Democracy engages thousands of NH citizens in nonpartisan grassroots campaigns, legislative advocacy, public education events, and through our Regional Democracy Teams.
Open Democracy is seeking creative and passionate Organizing Fellows to help build the Open Democracy movement in New Hampshire. Fellows will receive training in grassroots and online organizing, and communications, and will work directly on one or more of the following campaigns, depending on the individual’s interest and expertise:
- Organizing Our Walks - Organizing and participating in local/statewide our NH Rebellion project walks to educate and engage the public on democratic reform. Responsibilities include scouting routes, outreaching to media, recruiting walkers/volunteers, and planning walk events.
- Pressing Candidates on our Issues - Challenging state candidates to address money in politics reform throughout New Hampshire’s state representative, senate, and gubernatorial races. Responsibilities include attending campaign events, recruiting volunteers, questioning candidates, and documenting/broadcasting responses online.
- Movement-Building & Advocacy: Leading the charge in building our recently-launched Regional Democracy Teams across the state. These teams will reach out and educate voters in their own region, while pressing their own local legislators to pass statewide Democracy reforms.
Fellows must bring a passion for democracy, written/verbal communication skills, and an ability to work collaboratively and master online tools. Candidates with grassroots organizing experience, policy research/writing skills, or design/multimedia skills are strongly encouraged to apply.
Positions are 20 hours per week, with placements in Open Democracy’s Concord office or remote. There is no stipend for these positions, but all travel and project expenses are reimbursed by Open Democracy, and Concord-area low or no cost housing can be arranged for successful candidates.
Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to [email protected] Thank you for your interest and please contact us anytime to learn more.
Open Democracy is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to recruiting, hiring, training, promoting and administering any and all personnel actions without regard to sex, race, age, national origin, religion, economic status, sexual orientation, or physical disability, or any other legally protected basis. We will not tolerate any unlawful discrimination.
Coalition for Open Democracy | 4 Park Street, Suite 301 | Concord, NH 03301 | 603.715.8197 www.OpenDemocracyNH.org| [email protected]
Democracy Research Internship
Summer or Fall 2020
Open Democracy, a nonpartisan 501c3 which works on campaign finance reform and voting rights issues in New Hampshire and nationally seeks two highly motivated researcher/writers to help research and prepare an updated version of its Open Democracy Index (www.opendemocracynh.org/odi) which will be released on January 1, 2021. This document has been used by state legislators and policy leaders to inform the direction of future legislation and initiatives in New Hampshire.
For the Open Democracy Index project, you will design a research study on the current state of civic engagement in New Hampshire, including data collection, data analysis, brief literature reviews, and preparation of draft documents. This data will be presented in both long and short form for use by Open Democracy, policy leaders, and the media. You will be publicly acknowledged and may have the opportunity to write a publishable article.
With Whom Will I Work?
You will operate in a collaborative environment with the Open Democracy staff and board members, as well as both activists and academics. You will work on your own schedule and partly from home. The time commitment can range from 20 to 40 hours per week, depending on the candidate’s situation. Travel and project expenses are reimbursed by Open Democracy, and Concord area low or no cost housing can be arranged for successful candidates.
What Background Do I Need?
You should be able to work independently, establishing a schedule and organizing work to meet negotiated milestone deadlines, be detail-oriented, and communicate effectively orally and in writing. Integrity is essential in dealing with both people and information. Studies in political science or the social sciences are preferred.
- A passion for data analysis and research experience is preferred. A willingness to abide by basic research ethics and follow standard protocols, including honesty, truthfulness and thorough documentation, is essential.
- Working knowledge of the US and NH political systems. A vocabulary in Democracy reform issues is helpful, but not an impediment to the position.
- Spreadsheet skills are essential. We work in a Google Suite cloud environment, but often used with Microsoft Excel and other tools interchangeably. Online search skills are essential.
- Because you’ll be summarizing your findings for policy makers, writing skills and the ability to communicate complex information are important for this position
How Do I Apply?
If you are interested, and would like to discuss possible projects, please email Olivia Zink [email protected] expressing your interest and with a resume and cover letter.
The Coalition for Open Democracy is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to recruiting, hiring, training, promoting and administering any and all personnel actions without regard to sex, race, age, national origin, religion, economic status, sexual orientation, or physical disability, or any other legally protected basis. We will not tolerate any unlawful discrimination.
Carol Shea-Porter, Chair. - former member of Congress (D-NH); politics and history teacher; founder of a non-profit social service agency
John Broderick – former Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court; former Executive Director of the Rudman Center at University of New Hampshire Law School
Brad Cook – partner and past President of Sheehan Phinney Law Firm; Chair of the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission
Lew Feldstein – past President of the NH Charitable Foundation; co-author of Better Together: Restoring the American Community
Paul Hodes – former member of Congress (D-NH); attorney; member, National Council on the Arts; founder of the Economic Innovation Institute
Joe Magruder – former News Editor, Associated Press of New Hampshire
Lillye Ramos Spooner – Director of Operations for Greater Manchester AIDS Project; former member of the NH Commission on the Status of Women
Stephen Reno – Executive Director of Leadership New Hampshire; former Chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire
John Rauh – former President of Americans for Campaign Reform, now part of Issue One; former Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
Jim Rubens – entrepreneur; former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate; former New Hampshire state Senator
Betty Tamposi, Assistant Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush; as a state Representative, was Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee; former member of the Board of Governors of the University of New Hampshire
Dan Weeks - co-owner of ReVision Energy; former Executive Director of Open Democracy
** Affiliations listed for identification purposes only. Advisory Board members serve in their individual capacities.
Our organization might be small, but our reputation in NH is one that we fight for ALL the voters and citizens of the Granite State. Whether it's fair voting districts, ending the grip that special interest money has on our politicians, or making sure lobbyists don't have a louder voice than you, Open Democracy is here for an Equal Voice for All. Thanks for supporting our mission.
- Get involved! Sign up to get communications,
- Volunteer, or join a regional Open Democracy Team! Right now, protecting our democracy needs you to speak up, and to take action.
- Give a one-time or recurring gift to help support our mission, if you're unable to take action. This helps us organize others and expand the chorus of voices for reform!
Or please, mail us a check to "Coalition for Open Democracy",
4 Park Street, Suite 301, Concord, NH 03301
Do you need more reasons to give to Open Democracy? Check out this video our board members and staff did for Giving Tuesday!