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OUR MISSION: Improve the democracy of the United States through public engagement and research.
We aim to solve problems that harm American democracy through:
- Engaging the electorate to increase political participation and educate citizens about issues in our democracy
- Researching problems that harm American democracy through considering ideas about how to solve them
Our purposes are to:
- Educate citizens about threats to our democratic state
- Search for fair, nonpartisan solutions
- Organize support for both increased political participation and policy answers to issues
- Experiment with new ideas to improve the democratic state
National election voter turnout in the United States oscillates between 40% and 60%, but today, young people vote less often than they did half a century ago. Over 50% of citizens aged 18 to 24 voted in the 1964 presidential election. In 2012, that number dropped below 40%, with only one in five voting in the previous midterm election. In 2014, only 36% of the general populous vote, the lowest rate since World War II. UCDI aims to re-engage the young voter while improving civic values of all people.
Today, more money flows through political campaigns and lobbying than ever before. This extreme wealth spent trying to elect a favorite politician or advocate for a particular policy leaves many Americans skeptical about elected representatives’ commitment to the common citizen. UCDI investigates the issue of money in politics and searches for fair, nonpartisan solutions.
Today, electoral districts across the country are redrawn in ways that advantage particular partisan positions. UCDI aims to fight gerrymandering and advocate for fair, nonpartisan solutions to this epidemic.
While it’s impossible to have a perfect, pure democracy, it is certainly possible to make it ever more perfect; we believe it’s our civic duty to work toward solutions to make our government more accountable to the people of the United States. That’s why we—three UChicago undergraduates—started this organization. UCDI serves as a means for students to creatively and assertively contribute to the improvement of democracy of the United States, which means a more fair, just, free society for all citizens.
Want to get involved?
If you're a UChicago student and this inspires you to work with UCDI, email firstname.lastname@example.org or join our list host (email@example.com).
The University of Chicago Democracy Initiative (UCDI) is an independent, nonpartisan, student-led organization.