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Democracy & Civic Engagement

The Democracy and Civic Engagement Program (“DCE”) at the ACLU of Northern California recognizes that the principles of freedom, equality, and justice enumerated in the U.S. Constitution and imbedded in federal and state laws are not equitably applied to or enjoyed by all people in this country because of historic and systemic racism. The DCE team also recognizes the inequitable enforcement of our laws and policies, and that those same laws and policies can sometimes also reinforce systems of oppression, exclusion, and disenfranchisement of many groups of people.

The Democracy and Civic Engagement (“DCE”) works to break down structural barriers to civic engagement and protects the rights of people to participate in democratic processes and institutions. We work to ensure broader, more equitable and inclusive engagement in public discourse and participation in political activities. We work to ensure that voting rights are protected, government agencies and elected officials are accountable, and that core values like freedom of speech, the press, and civic engagement are defended against suppression. Through litigation, advocacy, civic engagement, and voter education campaigns, we work to make an expansive and inclusive democracy that represents all Californians.

We prioritize reforms that build pathways to civic participation for communities that have been historically disenfranchised from civic participation, and ensure that people with disabilities, limited-English speakers, and who have been underrepresented do not face barriers at the ballot box. We work in coalition with statewide and local partner organizations to ensure that our projects and campaigns are centered in the needs of the communities and impacted people.

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