Ford Foundation Working with Visionaries on the Frontlines of Social Change Worldwide
Democratic and Accountable Government

Promoting Electoral Reform and Democratic Participation

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The goal of this work is to eliminate barriers to democratic participation so that marginalized populations in the United States are represented fully.

The Challenge

In the United States, millions of people are routinely excluded from democratic participation through failures in the census, redistricting and elections processes.

Each decade, the census fails to accurately count communities of color, immigrants, low-income and other marginalized populations; an estimated 4.5 million people were missed in the 2000 Census. With census data used to both allocate public resources and draw legislative districts, the impact on these communities can be severe. Public funds and services may not be directed to communities that need them most, while flawed legislative districting can leave these communities underrepresented.

Furthermore, the elections system is neither designed nor administered to ensure every citizen's right to vote, often excluding society's most vulnerable members.

What We're Doing

We support efforts to eliminate barriers to democratic participation in the United States by ensuring that census, redistricting and elections systems are fair and inclusive. These efforts include increasing public understanding of the issues at stake; directly engaging excluded communities in reform efforts; and supporting groups that work to strengthen and enforce the law.

Learn more about how our strategies and approaches shape our grant making.

What We're Following

  • Beyond Parachute Politics Building Capacity Building Power initiative reports on civic engagement successes in historically disenfranchised communities




  • Rakesh Rajani

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