Take Action

Get Common Cause Updates

Get breaking news and updates from Common Cause.

Our Campaigns

Get involved in pro-democracy campaigns.


Learn how you can do more to strengthen democracy.


Make a contribution to support Common Cause today.

Find Your State

A framework for an inclusive democracy

Howard University – Blackburn Center | 2397 6th St NW │ Washington DC │ December 6th, 2016

We examined the ways in which our democracy is failing people and communities—and what can be done to restore our democracy. We focused on highlighting places and battles where people are standing up and winning, policies that will make a difference, and how we can win real reform. This was the fourth annual conference sponsored by Common Cause with a generous grant from the WhyNot Initiative. For more information about the conference, please email Keshia Morris at kmorris@commoncause.org.

Watch videos of each of the panels below by clicking on the link.

Welcome: Overview of Conference Goals
Karen Hobert Flynn – President, Common Cause
Gracia Hillman – Vice President for External Affairs, Howard University

Laying Foundations: Strategies for Building an Inclusive Democracy
This plenary will examine the political landscape in light of the outcome of the November elections, focusing on the work ahead for leaders in the movement for an inclusive, representative democracy.

Karen Hobert Flynn
Common Cause

Kristen Clarke
President & Executive Director
National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Morton Halperin
Senior Advisor
Open Society Foundations

Commissioner Karen Narasaki
Civil and Human Rights Leader

Daniel Gotoff
Lake Research Partners

Tom Hicks
U.S. Election Assistance Commission

Re-framing the Debate for a Changing Nation
This panel will examine how democracy reformers may use the nation’s shifting demographics to influence the priorities of the new administration in addressing issues of systemic racism and criminal justice. We will discuss issues including money in politics and racial profiling and explore innovative solutions to ensure that the American justice system runs according to law and principles of fairness.

Wendy Fields
Executive Director
Democracy Initative

Ashindi Maxton
Senior Advisor
Women Donors Network

Nadia Aziz, Esq.
Government Relations Director
Arab American Institute

Ifeoma Ike
Executive Director
Black and Brown Vote

How Do We Build People-centered Elections?
In this panel, we’ll look at some of the problems we saw in the 2016 primaries – problems that are not new and that recur because of our current system – with the aim of considering a handful of alternative solutions.

Allegra Chapman
Director of Voitng and Elections
Common Cause

Stuart Naifeh
Voting Rights Lawyer

Elena Nunez
Executive Director
Colorado Common Cause

Breanna Ross
United States Student Association

The Promise and Peril of Executive Authority
As our nation prepares for President-elect Trump to take office, we will discuss the scope and uses of presidential power, including the history of executive authority and change and continuity in how presidents use their authority in domestic and foreign affairs. We’ll also examine the implications of the growth of executive authority for the programs and politics of the incoming Administration.

Paul S. Ryan
Vice President of Policy and Litigation
Common Cause

Bob Bauer
Partner, Perkins Coie
Former White House Counsel, President Obama

Remodeling a Room: How Do We Modernize and Secure Voter Registration?
Before, during, and after the primary season, we saw a number of problems crop up with voter registration–the gatekeeper to the ballot box. This session will address what happened, how much of the country is moving forward with strong voter registration modernization, lessons learned in 2016, and what more needs to be done to ensure full registration and full participation.

Jenny Flanagan
Vice President of State Operations
Common Cause

Myrna Pérez
Deputy Director
Brennan Center’s Democracy Program

Amber McReynolds
Director of Elections
Denver, Colorado

Pam Smith
Verified Voting

Join the movement over 1 million strong for democracy

Join us: Americans deserve open, honest, accountable government.