NVRI: National Voting Rights Institute

For Immediate Release: May 9, 2006

Announcement: Two leading national public
policy and advocacy organizations sign
affiliation agreement

Demos: A Network for Ideas & Action and the National Voting Rights Institute Join Forces to Promote Vital Reforms for American Democracy


New York, NY and Boston, MA -- This week, Demos: A Network for Ideas & Action and the National Voting Rights Institute (NVRI) announced that they have signed an affiliation agreement. Longtime allies on national and state election reform campaigns, the Demos / NVRI collaboration will combine the strategy and resources of two of the nationís leading public policy and advocacy organizations.

Demos, a 6-year old research and advocacy group with headquarters in New York City, has been at the forefront of important election reform policy change since the 2000 elections. NVRI, based in Boston, is a non-partisan legal center which recently argued a ground-breaking campaign finance case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Working in tandem, they will be able to leverage their combined research, advocacy and litigation efforts to improve Americaís civic and political systems to address the challenges of the 21st century.

"We are thrilled about this affiliation," said Miles Rapoport, President of Demos. "We have worked with NVRI on many initiatives over the years, from implementing fair and solution-oriented election reform to building a national case for sensible campaign finance laws, and have found them to be a great partner. Their goals for Americaís democratic system couldnít be closer to ours."

Stuart Comstock-Gay, Executive Director of the National Voting Rights Institute, added, "This collaboration is a logical step for both organizations, as we blend NVRIís litigation expertise with the tremendous analysis and advocacy work of Demos. It will also allow us to work in tandem on a range of issues related to American democracy--from NVRIís historical work on campaign finance and voting rights, to Demos' national leadership reforming and enhancing election administration, promoting sensible voter registration practices and advancing policy for fair ballot access. This is a win-win."

As part of the collaboration, Comstock-Gay will also assume directorship of Demosí Democracy Program. Former Democracy Program director Steve Carbů will move into a senior program director role, where he will develop new long-range election and democracy reform projects for the collaboration. NVRIís legal team of Brenda Wright and Lisa Danetz will expand their work to encompass a range of reform initiatives. (NVRI Founder and General Counsel remains on a leave of absence while he continues his candidacy for the position of Secretary of State in Massachusetts.)

The two organizations will also begin exploring new joint programmatic efforts outside of the election reform field. NVRI staff will continue to operate from their Boston office, which will serve as a base for Demos staff working on joint programs under the collaboration agreement.

For more information: www.demos.org or www.nvri.org.

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Demos is a non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization. We are committed to building an America which achieves its highest democratic ideals--a nation where democracy is robust and inclusive, with high levels of electoral participation and civic engagement; an economy where prosperity and opportunity are broadly shared and disparity is reduced; and a strong and effective government with the capacity to plan for the future. Founded in 2000, Demosí work combines research with advocacy--melding the commitment to ideas of a think-tank with the organizing strategies of an advocacy group

The National Voting Rights Institute, founded in 1995, is a Boston-based, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to making real the promise of American democracy that meaningful political participation and power should be accessible to all regardless of economic or social status. Among NVRIís many cases is Randall v. Sorrell, currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, in which the Court is weighing the Constitutionality of Vermontís campaign spending limits law, the only such law in the country. NVRI founder John Bonifaz is currently on a leave of absence as NVRI General Counsel while he campaigns for Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Members of the press: to schedule an interview with Miles Rapoport, President of Demos and former Secretary of the State of Connecticut, or Stuart Comstock-Gay, Executive Director of the National Voting Rights Institute, please contact Tim Rusch at trusch@demos.org or (212) 389-1407.