|By Casey Shea
RepresentUs Marketing Director
July 21, 2023
American democracy is in crisis. From attacks on elections and the right to vote, to January 6, the most direct assault on our democracy our nation has seen. This isn’t a partisan issue, it’s an American issue.
But our movement is fighting back and working city by city, state by state to put power back in the hands of we the people. And we’re gathering in Los Angeles September 27-29 to create a new culture of democracy at American Democracy Summit (ADS) 2023.
ADS is the premier anti-corruption convening, bringing everyone in the movement together to celebrate our work, grow our skills and connections, and look boldly towards the future. Whether you’re a professional politico or brand new to the movement, ADS will help you level up your impact and become a part of the next victory.
So grab your ticket here, and read on for everything you need to know about American Democracy Summit 2023.
- What is American Democracy Summit?
- Who is coming to ADS 2023?
- What’s on at ADS 2023?
- Count me in. Where do I sign up?
What is American Democracy Summit?
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Formerly Unrig Summit, American Democracy Summit is the premier right-left event to solve America’s political crisis. Presented in partnership with more than a dozen leading pro-democracy organizations, it brings everyone fighting for a better democracy under one roof to celebrate the movement, connect across party lines, and collaborate for future victories.
Over the course of three days, ADS will shine a bright light on the most vital and pressing issues of our time through dynamic content, inspiring speakers, expert trainers, and world class entertainment.
In 2018, the Summit convened the broad and diverse democracy reform movement in New Orleans. For the first time ever, the movement came together as one, shared ideas, and made new connections – and it was an immediate success. Hundreds of attendees went on to lead winning anti-corruption campaigns, including Katie Fahey (who led Voters Not Politicians which banned partisan gerrymandering in MI in 2018) and Desmond Meade (of Florida Amendment 4 which restored the vote to 1.4 million returning citizens), boosting the movement to its most successful election season yet!
In 2019, we doubled down, bringing together 2,000 corruption fighters from all 50 states to Nashville to celebrate the movement’s immense success and leverage this momentum for future victories. As RepresentUs Co-founder Josh Silver said at the event, "My faith in government may be wavering, but my faith in this movement has never been stronger."
Now, after years kept apart by the pandemic, and after enduring the most direct assault on our democracy in generations, American Democracy Summit 2023 is set to be the most important event our movement has ever seen.
Who is coming to ADS 2023?
ADS brings the diverse leaders shaping the future of democracy together – and we do mean diverse. Past speakers have included sitting members of Congress, former presidential advisors, world-renowned academics, civil rights leaders, Oscar-winning actors and SNL-alums, and even a couple of Badass Grandmas. Because a crisis this big is going to take all of us.
This year, we’ll be joined by leaders at the cutting edge of democracy reform, whether that be within political advocacy, policy, or American business and culture. We’re so excited for you to get to know some of the inspiring and energizing presenters coming to ADS, including:
|Jocelyn Benson, Michigan Secretary of State and Former Dean of Wayne State University Law School, oversaw the 2020 and 2022 general elections for her state – including over 250 post-election audits in 2020. These were the highest-turnout, most secure elections in Michigan history.|
|Andrew Yang, Founder and Co-Chair of the Forward Party, is an entrepreneur, lawyer, philanthropist, and former presidential candidate known for embracing bold new ideas, and forging new paths out of our broken two-party system.|
|Ed Helms is not just the actor and comedian you know and love from The Office. He’s also a dedicated anti-corruption fighter and RepresentUs Board Member, who’s been leveraging his public platform to bring awareness and action to critical democracy issues.|
|Danielle Allen, is a multi-hyphenate expert in politics, public policy, and constitutional democracy. She’s a Harvard Professor, distinguished author, former gubernatorial candidate, democracy advocate, and non-profit leader, whose policy solutions have been adopted into executive orders and federal legislation.|
|Desmond Meade is the President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), which advocates for voting rights and criminal justice reform. Himself a formerly homeless returning citizen, Meade led the hugely-successful ballot initiative campaign that restored voting rights to over 1.4 million formerly incarcerated Floridians in 2018.|
|Eboo Patel is a civic leader who advocates for religious diversity as an essential and inspiring piece of American democracy. As Founder and President of Interfaith America, Eboo has built broad coalitions focused on leveraging faith for civic cooperation.|
Plus, you’ll hear from a range of experts across law, technology, security, philanthropy, and business – even Hollywood stars and elected officials – all bringing their unique perspectives and bold solutions for fixing our broken political system. Check out our speaker page to see all the presenters we’ve announced so far, and stay tuned for more.
American Democracy Summit is of, by, and for the democracy movement. It’s a proudly collaborative project shared across dozens of organizations leading the fight.
ADS will help you level up your impact
With speakers like that, who wouldn’t want to be in the room? But you’re not just a spectator, you’re a part of it.
Whether you’re a seasoned anti-corruption advocate, a casual volunteer, or just beginning to explore the fight for democracy and your part in it, ADS is where you can plug into the movement and level up your impact.
Looking to build skills as an activist? Learn more about policy solutions? Volunteer for the movement? Build your connections with others? Showcase your organization’s work? As long as you care about our nation and the future of our democracy, ADS has something for you.
What’s on at ADS 2023?
ADS is no ordinary conference. It’s fast-paced, interactive, immersive, and entertaining, with curated opportunities to meet and collaborate with fellow democracy fighters. It’s your chance to share your ideas, be challenged, inspire and educate one another, and forge lasting connections across party lines to power the future of the movement.
The large mainstage allows the movement to come together as one. It will feature an all-day lineup of inspiring speakers, insightful conversations, and moving performances. Expect spotlights on key campaigns, including those tackling Ranked Choice Voting, anti-gerrymandering reform, voting access, and more.
The breakout rooms offer more intimate space to dig deeper into wonky issues, and complement the mainstage content. You’ll see engaging speakers and panels, and get to participate in interactive trainings and workshops to build the movement’s skills.
ADS is all about connecting the movement. There will be designated time and curated opportunities throughout the week for attendees to connect, collaborate, and advance solutions together.
ADS Live! is our chance to celebrate the movement with a night of star-studded entertainment, inspiring speeches, and incredible live music. You’ll laugh, you’ll dance. You might shed a tear — but most importantly, you’ll feel part of the movement like never before.
2023 Theme: Demand Better Democracy
We know our democracy is facing an existential crisis. But what makes a democracy? Is it our elections or the rule of law? Is it the connections we make between individuals, our communities, and each other? Is it in our culture, our churches, schools, or businesses? What systems, structures and laws must we rebuild to create the democracy America needs?
ADS 2023’s theme “Demand Better Democracy” will help us investigate these questions, and together, explore and cultivate bold answers.
Day 1 will focus on the current state of the pro-democracy fight. You’ll get to:
- Hear the latest updates on where the anti-corruption movement is right now — and how we got here — from the leaders on the front lines.
- Learn about the most urgent threats our democracy faces, and how advocates are mobilizing to defend it.
- Celebrate the incredible progress our movement has made, and hear the story behind recent hard-fought victories from the people who helped make them happen.
On Day 2, we’re thinking big: What does a better democracy look like? Featuring:
- Deep dives on the most promising policies to fix our broken system, like anti-gerrymandering, Ranked Choice Voting, and campaign finance reform.
- Expert-led talks to break down wonky policy details and cutting-edge campaign strategies and organizing tactics.
- Bold discussions and inspiring cross-partisan conversations exploring visionary new ideas to solve America’s biggest problems.
On Day 3, we’re looking ahead and getting to work. Join us to:
- Share bold solutions for supercharging our collective impact.
- Coordinate with organizations and advocates across partisan divides, leveraging our movement’s diversity towards our shared goals.
- Strategize about how we’ll use our new skills and insights to win more victories, and chart a path to a nation truly of, by, and for the people.
Can’t wait to hear more and start planning which sessions to attend? Here’s a sneak peak at some of the inspiring, innovative programming you’ll see at ADS:
How to Strengthen Democracy: A Leadership Training
Take this powerful class from internationally-recognized democracy expert and Harvard Professor Danielle Allen on the tools and frameworks to build a bridge across ideological divides and renovate democracy nationally. The 360⁰ Standard for Healthy Democracy champions holistic, ambitious, and strategic agendas for change, leading to sustained progress for democracy. Danielle and her team work within coalitions to center inclusion in everything they do — broadening and strengthening our movement.
AI vs Democracy: Clash of the Titans or Unholy Alliance
Worried about the threat that AI poses to democracy and America’s most vulnerable groups? Think the government should leverage AI to help build a better future? Join a panel of the world’s leading thinkers as they debate the threats, the opportunities, and what the future holds for AI. This one-of-a-kind panel is not to be missed.
Faith in Democracy: Building Bridges for Election Integrity
To coalesce as a movement, we need to meet Americans where they are. Join Interfaith America as they share concrete ways that religious institutions across the political spectrum can work together to support the infrastructure of the 2024 election. With discussions centering around ways for religious leaders to encourage working at the polls, registering voters, informing their congregations, combating misinformation about voting, this is an event not to be missed.
Triumph Unveiled: Behind the Scenes of Winning Campaigns
Ready to organize on the ground to save democracy? Learn from the experts themselves during this panel of leaders of some of the most impactful, winning campaigns of the past election cycle. Join a very special host (TBA soon) in celebrating some of our movements’ biggest victories. You’ll learn tips and tricks from the best in the business and leave this session excited and revitalized, with big ideas on how to run and win your next local campaign. Let’s make government work for us.
Campaigns of Tomorrow: Building the Road to a Stronger Democracy
Pro-democracy campaigns are gaining momentum across the nation. We need to amplify this momentum by bolstering the campaigns that are winning. Hear from some of the folks leading these campaigns about what it’ll take for these campaigns to win and what the future holds for our movement.
In the Arena: Insights and Strategies from Federal Pro-Democracy Policy
Federal pro-voter and pro-democracy policy had a major win in 2022 with the passage of the revised Electoral Count Act. Hear from some of the leaders behind this bill, and what’s next for presidential elections. At the same time, federal reform hit some speed bumps. What’s next for the voting rights movement and bills such as the Freedom to Vote Act? What strategies are working, and what should we leave in the past? We’ll come together during this session on the next steps to ensure every American has the protected opportunity to vote.
Vote Better, Vote RCV: The Path to Nationwide Ranked Choice Voting
Enjoy hands-on training from those who are leading the fight to pass Ranked Choice Voting across the country. Presented by FairVote and Rank The Vote you’ll learn why RCV is such a powerful reform for the pro-democracy movement, what others have done to build momentum, and how you can be part of the next victory. Together, we can build a future where everyone is properly represented.
From Boardrooms to Ballots: Democracy is Good Business
America’s faltering democracy is bad for business. Hear from Fortune500 executives and small business leaders about the impacts of pro-democracy work on American business and how they’re leveraging their unique voice and position to promote transformative pro-democracy laws across the country and win elections. Let’s all invest in the future of democracy — it’s everyone’s business.
ADS Live! Entertainment & Celebration
American Democracy Summit is not just about hard work and organizing — it’s also about celebrating our movement! Tune in for updates as entertainers are confirmed for star-studded live music, comedy, inspiring and informative talks, and so much more. You’ll laugh, you’ll dance. You might shed a tear — but most importantly, you’ll feel part of the movement like never before.
That's just a taste of what's in store for you at American Democracy Summit. Check out the Programming page for more details.
Count me in. Where do I sign up?
Register for ADS 2023 on the website. We offer both General Admission ($325) and Income Adjusted ($105) tickets, because finances shouldn’t be a barrier to saving democracy.
P.S. We’d love your help! You can volunteer with us and get free registration.
Contributors: Meara Geraty, RepresentUs Writer