Democracy

Tools, resources, and advocacy relevant to the people's voice in government

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Elections

For information specific to elections and voting:

See:https://coronavirustechhandbook.com/elections

Democracy and civil rights impacts overview


Democracy and Pandemics

🌏🔗https://items.ssrc.org/category/covid-19-and-the-social-sciences/democracy-and-pandemics/
A collection of essays from the Social Sciences Research Council addressing the questions How is Covid-19 impacting democratic governance? and What does the current crisis tell us about democratic strengths and weaknesses under states of emergency?

COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker

🌏🔗https://www.icnl.org/covid19tracker/
This tracker monitors government responses to the pandemic that affect civic freedoms and human rights, focusing on emergency laws. Developed by the International Centre for Not-for-profit Law, the European Centre for Not-for-profit Law and the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

COVID-19 Press Freedom Tracker

🌏🔗https://rsf.org/en/tracker19-Coronavirus-Covid19
#Tracker_19- Live updates of COVID-19 impacts of press freedom

Strongman Medicine: Can Democracy Survive the Coronavirus Crisis?

🔗https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/03/strongman-medicine-democracy-coronavirus.html
Slate international affairs writer lists actions taken around the world that strengthen government authority and threaten citizens’ rights

Technology for Democracy

Digital tools for expressing the people's voice in government.


mySociety
🌏🔗https://www.mysociety.org/democracy/
mySociety is a civic tech social enterprise providing free Open Source code, Open Data and repurposable tools that help hold power to account. They run projects and services globally to support participation in society’s democratic systems, and access to political information.(They also have transparency, community, and research offerings.)

Harnessing Digital Tools to Revitalize European Democracy

🇪🇺🔗https://carnegieeurope.eu/2018/11/28/harnessing-digital-tools-to-revitalize-european-democracy-pub-77806
Think tank Carnegie Europe recommends an EU digital democracy strategy focused on fostering grassroots and national initiatives, creating EU-specific tools for digital participation, and inclusion of technology companies and NGOs in discussions.

Democracy Club: Our projects

🇬🇧🔗https://democracyclub.org.uk/
Community Interest Company Democracy Club builds digital tools to support everyone’s participation in UK democracy. Services for organisations in government, charities and the media.

The Democracy Labs

🇺🇸🔗https://thedemlabs.org/2020/02/18/hold-them-accountable/
Wakelet is a free app that can be used to quickly create stories using existing web content (headlines, documents, images, videos) combined with your own messaging and call to action. Website includes examples relevant to Coronavirus.

Surveys, Petitions and Advocacy

Resources for conducting, aggregating, or amplifying surveys and petitions. May not be specific to COVID.


All Our Ideas
🔗 https://allourideas.org
Survey creation tool for working out groups of people’s preferred option - can be used to organise communities and deliberate.

Groupthink

🔗 https://github.com/openpolitics/groupthink
A collaborative democratic platform built atop GitHub, designed for open policymaking and manifesto writing.

Care2

🔗https://www.care2.com/ 
Petition/online community 

Control Shift Labs

🔗https://www.controlshiftlabs.com/ 
Petition / advocacy site

New Mode

🔗https://www.newmode.net/ 
Petition / advocacy site

Policy Recommendations

Public policy advocacy related to sustaining the people's voice in government and democratic institutions.

COVID-19 and Democracy

🌏🔗https://www.idea.int/our-work/what-we-do/covid-19-and-democracy
🔗https://www.idea.int/news-media/news/elections-and-covid-19-making-democracy-work-uncertain-times
COVID-19 resources from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), an intergovernmental organization that supports sustainable democracy worldwide.

FOI and the Pandemic

🇬🇧🔗https://www.cfoi.org.uk/2020/04/foi-and-the-pandemic/
Campaign for Freedom of Information explains the impact of the Coronavirus Act 2020 on freedom of information (FOI) andvocates for sustaining FOI in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overcoming polarization to embrace cooperative and inclusive political decision-making

🔗https://www.idea.int/news-media/news/overcoming-polarization-embrace-cooperative-and-inclusive-political-decision-making
In this commentary, senior fellow at Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance discusses some positive developments for democracy in COVID-19 policy response.

Principles for Protecting Civil and Political Rights in the Fight against Covid-19

🔗https://freedomhouse.org/article/freedom-house-offers-guidelines-protecting-democracy-during-pandemic
Freedom House offers 5 guidelines for protecting democracy during the pandemic.

Keeping Democracy Healthy during a Pandemic

🔗https://freedomhouse.org/newsletter/keeping-democracy-healthy-during-pandemic-issue-1
Freedom House announces a new, free newsletter on protecting rights during COVID-19.

News & Analysis of Democracy

In a new age of emergency laws, human rights are more important than ever.

🌏🔗https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2020/03/emergency-laws-human-rights-pandemic-coronavirus
A pandemic generates precisely the kind of instability and fear which has historically been used to suppress civil liberties. A human rights barrister advocates for upholding human rights laws.

Coronavirus is now contaminating Europe's democracy

🇪🇺🔗https://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2020/apr/01/coronavirus-contaminating-europe-democracy-viktor-orban-seize-more-power
Polish historians on border closings, post-communist states in COVID-19 response.

How much will Coronavirus hurt European democracy?

🇪🇺🔗https://euobserver.com/coronavirus/147884
European politics journalist on how pandemic weakened checks on governments.

Journalism hit hard by the Coronavirus crisis

🇪🇺🔗https://euobserver.com/coronavirus/147956
European politics journalist describes how Coronavirus pandemic affects journalism.

Democracy in critical care as coronavirus disrupts government

🌏🔗https://www.politico.eu/article/democracy-in-critical-care-as-coronavirus-disrupts-governments/
Describes impacts of COVID-19 on government.

Coronavirus and the Dawn of Post-Democratic Europe
🇪🇺🔗https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/03/31/hungary-orban-coronavirus-europe-democracy/

How Coronavirus is remaking democratic politics

🔗https://www.ft.com/content/0e83be62-6e98-11ea-89df-41bea055720b
The superficial conclusion is that it will be a gift to populists and authoritarians.

🔗https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/democraciaabierta/coronavirus-risk-society-and-return-state/
Coronavirus, risk society and the return of the State. The new Coronavirus crisis is turning everything upside down.

🔗https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/global-extremes/resilience-radicalisation-and-democracy-covid-19-pandemic/
Resilience, radicalisation and democracy in the COVID-19 pandemic. With lockdowns, an already alarming situation of vulnerability to political manipulation is at risk of becoming a disaster for democracy.

🔗https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/openmovements/democratic-horizons-times-corona-governance/
Democratic horizons in times of Coronavirus governance. Gatekeepers of the present order adapt efficiently. But others can open up a plurality of futures.

🔗https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/03/30/authoritarianism-coronavirus-lockdown-pandemic-populism/
Authoritarianism in the Time of Coronavirus.

🔗https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/02/democratic-leaders-win-surge-of-approval-during-covid-19-crisis
Democratic leaders win surge of approval during COVID-19 crisis. Political scientists warn ‘rally round flag’ effect won’t last and populist parties will bounce back.

🔗https://qz.com/1825015/will-democracy-be-the-next-victim-of-coronavirus/
Will democracy be the next victim of Coronavirus?

🔗https://freedomhouse.org/article/spotlight-freedom-impact-coronavirus-basic-freedoms
Paywalled link (Washington Post). Spotlight on Freedom: Impact of Coronavirus on Basic Freedoms- Now more than ever, the world needs the benefits of democratic governance, including a free press, open and inclusive policy debates, and good-faith cooperation among elected officials at home and abroad to effectively address this global health crisis. 

🔗 https://www.usip.org/publications/2020/03/nonviolent-action-time-coronavirus
Analysis of how popular movements are confronting the challenge of how to practice social distancing while still acting to advance their demands.

🔗 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/14/growth-in-surveillance-may-be-hard-to-scale-back-after-coronavirus-pandemic-experts-say#maincontent
Growth in surveillance may be hard to scale back after pandemic, experts say

Country/Regional News of Democracy/Surveillance

See also:

https://coronavirustechhandbook.com/government

🌏🔗https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ODDaxKJMG2QBy00-KC0od75SIdNzn_Nuk_d_SAMedYE/edit#gid=0
COVID-19 government measures.

Hansard Society
🔗https://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/blog/how-are-parliaments-responding-to-the-coronavirus-pandemi
how are legislatures around the world responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic, and what are the key challenges posed in moving to a ‘virtual’ operation?

🇦🇺Australia

🇦🇺🔗https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/apr/01/labor-says-parliament-should-sit-to-scrutinise-governments-coronavirus-emergency-powers
Labor says parliament should sit to scrutinise government's Coronavirus emergency powers
Call comes as civil liberties advocate warns extended adjournment is ‘unacceptable and dangerous for democracy’

🇧🇷Brazil

🇧🇷🔗https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-brazil/brazils-bolsonaro-urges-no-more-coronavirus-quarantine-says-jobs-being-lost-idUKKBN21H3LS
Brazil's Bolsonaro urges no more Coronavirus quarantine, says jobs being lost. Suggesting that democracy could be at risk if the Coronavirus crisis leads to social chaos.

🇧🇷🔗https://www.wilsoncenter.org/blog-post/brazils-congress-becoming-more-powerful-thats-not-necessarily-bad-democracy
Brazil’s Congress is Becoming More Powerful, But That’s Not Necessarily Bad for Democracy

🇨🇳China

🇨🇳🔗https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-wuhan-trump-china-propaganda-democracy-20200318.html
Chinese propaganda claims democracy can’t stop Coronavirus. We can — but can Trump?

🇨🇳🔗http://www.ggfutures.net/analysis/a-conversation-with-kun-tang
China's Response to COVID-19- A Conversation with Kun Tang

🇪🇬Egypt 

🇪🇬🔗https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/egypt-targets-guardian-nyt-journalists-coronavirus-reports-200318155434068.html
Officials in Egypt revoked the credentials of a Guardian journalist who reported on estimates of the virus’s spread in the country that were at odds with government statistics, and denounced a New York Times reporter for tweeting the same information.

🇪🇺European Union

🇪🇺🔗https://exit.al/en/2020/04/01/von-der-leyen-coronavirus-is-not-an-excuse-for-the-backsliding-of-democracy/
resident of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen has called on EU Member States not to use the Coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to implement emergency measures that are not compatible with democracy and human rights.

🇫🇷France

🇫🇷🔗https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/15/french-urged-to-vote-in-local-elections-amid-coronavirus-lockdown
In France, the decision to continue with the first round of local government elections on 15 March 2020 also sparked controversy.

🇫🇷🔗https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/15/french-urged-to-vote-in-local-elections-amid-coronavirus-lockdown
The Guardian reported on voters being instructed to maintain a distance of one metre apart in queues, to bring their own pens to polling stations, and to use disinfectant on their hands prior to marking ballots.

🇫🇷🔗https://www.politico.eu/article/coronavirus-pushes-french-local-election-turnout-to-historic-low/
Despite precautions, the second round of the French elections, initially scheduled for 22 March 2020, has been postponed until 21 June 2020 .

🇭🇺Hungary

🇭🇺🔗https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/04/europe-hungary-viktor-orban-coronavirus-covid19-democracy/609313/
The EU Watches as Hungary Kills Democracy- The bloc’s failure to curb the country’s democratic decline suggests that it may not have much power at all.

🇭🇺🔗https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/hungary-seeks-indefinite-extension-state-emergency-69744526
Hungary changed its criminal code to include harsh penalties for spreading “false information,” and passed a state-of-emergency law that gives the government indefinite powers to rule by decree.

🇮🇳India

🇮🇳🔗https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/24/coronavirus-indias-prime-minister-orders-nationwide-lockdown.html
India’s prime minister orders lockdown of country of 1.3 billion people for 21 days

🇮🇱Israel

🇮🇱🔗https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-03-18/israel-coronavirus-netanyahu
Critics in Israel say Netanyahu using Coronavirus as pretext for massive power grab- he has shut down Israeli courts, ordered the internal security services to secretly track citizens using their cellphone data and incapacitated the nation’s parliament.

🇮🇱🔗https://www.timesofisrael.com/coronavirus-or-democracy-which-crisis-should-israelis-be-more-worried-about/
Coronavirus or democracy? Which crisis should Israelis be more worried about?
Life-changing moves to battle the virus are overseen by the admirably effective… and deeply mistrusted Netanyahu, who himself conflates national, political and personal interests.

🇮🇱🔗https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-election-health-coronavirus/masked-and-gloved-israelis-in-quarantine-from-coronavirus-vote-in-election-idUSKBN20P1BZ
Earlier this month, Israel made use of special voting tents to enable quarantined voters to exercise their political rights at the polls.

🇮🇹Italy

🇮🇹🔗https://www.repubblica.it/politica/2020/03/13/news/coronavirus_delrio_-251115180/
Coronavirus, Delrio: "Let's say yes to distance voting: democracy cannot be suspended"

🇮🇹🔗https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/italy-epidemic-vs-democracy/
Italy: the epidemic vs. democracy- Only a true democratic consensus on what must be done will make more stringent and efficient measures possible if these are necessary.

🇮🇹🔗https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-03-09/italy-s-coronavirus-lockdown-tests-the-limits-of-democracy
Italy's Coronavirus Lockdown Tests the Limits of Democracy- Restrictions on 17 million people are the most draconian in the West, but they’re far less strict than China’s. The onus is on citizens to comply.

🇮🇹🔗https://balkaninsight.com/2020/03/12/coronavirus-in-italy-the-epidemic-versus-democracy/
Italy Coronavirus in Italy: The epidemic vs Democracy

Latin America

https://www.idea.int/news-media/news/impact-coronavirus-latin-america-future
The impact of the Coronavirus in Latin America´s Future 

🇲🇪Montenegro

🇲🇪🔗https://institut-alternativa.org/en/response-to-announced-public-debate-on-amendments-to-the-law-on-free-access-to-information/
Response to announced public debate on amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information

🇵🇭Philippines

🇵🇭🔗https://www.democracynow.org/2020/4/2/headlines/after_hungry_residents_demand_food_philippines_president_orders_soldiers_to_shoot_curfew_violators
After Hungry Residents Demand Food, Philippines President Orders Soldiers to Shoot Curfew Violators

🇸🇬Singapore

🇸🇬🔗https://www.cnbc.com/video/2020/03/30/singapore-government-has-not-yet-decided-on-elections-date-amid-virus-crisis.html
Singapore government has not yet decided on elections date amid virus crisis: Deputy PM

🇸🇬🔗https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/25/coronavirus-singapore-to-make-contact-tracing-tech-open-source.html
Singapore says it will make its contact tracing tech freely available to developers

🇿🇦South Africa

🇿🇦🔗https://cpj.org/2020/03/south-africa-enacts-regulations-criminalizing-disi.php
South Africa passed regulations that criminalized content intended to deceive a person about the pandemic, or the government’s response to it.

🇿🇦🔗https://saiia.org.za/research/coronavirus-and-upcoming-elections-in-africa-what-are-the-options/
Coronavirus and upcoming elections in Africa: What are the options?

🇹🇼Taiwan

🇹🇼🔗https://www.stimson.org/2020/interview-with-taiwan-digital-minister-audrey-tang/
Audrey Tang on Taiwan’s Digital Democracy, COVID-19, and Combating Disinformation

🇹🇭Thailand

🇹🇭🔗https://www.article19.org/resources/thailand-emergency-measures-threaten-human-rights/
Thailand also announced emergency powers that include broad criminal prohibitions on coronavirus information deemed false, which might “instigate fear,” or is “intentionally distorted to mislead the public.”

🇹🇷Turkey

🇹🇷🔗https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-turkey/turkey-rounds-up-hundreds-for-social-media-posts-about-coronavirus-idUSKBN21C1SG
In Turkey, authorities have detained at least 410 people for “provocative” posts about the pandemic.

🇻🇺Vanuatu

🇻🇺🔗https://www.idea.int/news-media/news/supporting-observation-covid-19-general-elections-vanuatu
Supporting Observation of a COVID-19 General Elections in Vanuatu

🇻🇪Venezuela

🇻🇪🔗https://cpj.org/2020/03/venezuelan-journalist-arrested-by-special-forces-f.php
In Venezuela, the Special Action Forces of the national police temporarily detained and interrogated a freelance journalist and members of his family. Authorities demanded information about the journalist’s sources for his COVID-19 coverage. 

🇺🇦Ukraine

🇺🇦🔗https://pravo.org.ua/en/news/20874286-weekly-analytics-of-the-cplr-for-10--18-march-2020#Without%20Introducing%20a%20State%20of%20Emergency,%20Restrictive%20Measures%20Regarding%20the%20Human%20Rights%20and%20Freedoms%20to%20Prevent%20the%20Spread%20of%20the%20COVID-19%20Coronavirus%20in%20Ukraine%20are%20Unconstitutional
Without Introducing a State of Emergency, Restrictive Measures Regarding the Human Rights and Freedoms to Prevent the Spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus in Ukraine are Unconstitutional

🇺🇦🔗https://pravo.org.ua/en/news/20874286-weekly-analytics-of-the-cplr-for-10--18-march-2020#Significant%20Restriction%20of%20Human%20Rights%20and%20Freedoms%20Is%20Possible%20in%20the%20State%20of%20Emergency%20Only
Significant Restriction of Human Rights and Freedoms Is Possible in the State of Emergency Only

🇺🇦🔗https://pravo.org.ua/en/news/20874318-weekly-analytics-of-the-cplr-for-23--30-march-2020#Enacted%20law%20to%20combat%20coronavirus%20creates%20a%20risk%20of%20%E2%80%9Cfreezing%E2%80%9D%20justice
Enacted law to combat coronavirus creates a risk of “freezing” justice

🇺🇦🔗https://pravo.org.ua/en/news/20874318-weekly-analytics-of-the-cplr-for-23--30-march-2020#Forced%20hospitalization%20without%20a%20court%20decision%20is%20unconstitutional
Forced hospitalization without a court decision is unconstitutional

🇬🇧United Kingdom

🇬🇧🔗https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/13/local-london-mayoral-elections-postponed-year-coronavirus-uk
Local elections and London mayoral race postponed for a year

🇬🇧🔗https://www.wired.co.uk/article/parilament-uk-coronavirus
What happens if Coronavirus forces us to close parliament?

🇬🇧🔗https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-51876269
In England, ‘ local and mayoral elections ‘ have been pushed back to May 2021, one year from their original date as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🔗https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/politics/scottish-politics/2120917/scotland-first-country-in-the-world-to-delay-freedom-of-information-access-because-of-coronavirus/
Scotland ‘first country in the world’ to delay freedom of information access because of Coronavirus- Democracy campaigners have been angered by a Holyrood vote that has resulted in the weakening of Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation during the Coronavirus crisis.

🇬🇧🔗https://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/publications/data/coronavirus-statutory-instruments-dashboard
This Dashboard highlights key facts and figures about the Statutory Instruments (SIs) being produced using these powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020 and other Acts of Parliament.

🇺🇸United States

🇺🇸🔗https://www.doj.nh.gov/news/2020/20200309-covid-19-municipal-elections.htm
New Hampshire- Information Regarding COVID-19 and March 10, 2020 Municipal Elections

🇺🇸🔗https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/21/doj-coronavirus-emergency-powers-140023
The Justice Department has quietly asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies — part of a push for new powers that comes as the novel coronavirus spreads throughout the United States.

🇺🇸🔗https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/trumps-authoritarian-covid/609304/
Authoritarian Populists Have Six Classic Moves. Trump’s Response to COVID-19 Uses Five of Them.
While the president may not be using the coronavirus to consolidate power, Americans should still be worried about the threat he poses to democracy.

🇺🇸🔗https://www.democracynow.org/2020/4/2/headlines/lawmakers_begin_planning_9_11_style_commission_on_pandemic
Lawmakers Begin Planning 9/11-Style Commission on Pandemic

🇺🇸🔗https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-democratic-convention-milwaukee-joe-biden-doubt-20200401.html
Coronavirus crisis puts Democratic convention in doubt, Joe Biden says

🇺🇸🔗https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election/democratic-primary-coronavirus-ohio-extend-mike-dewine-how-to-vote-cdc-biden-sanders-a9405506.html
Democratic primary: Ohio governor seeks to postpone election

🇺🇸🔗https://badgerherald.com/opinion/2020/04/02/with-no-end-date-to-coronavirus-pandemic-absentee-voting-key-to-preserving-democracy/
With no end date to coronavirus pandemic, absentee voting key to preserving democracy
As pandemic impacts voter turn-out, especially those compromised, mail-in voting will ensure people don't have to choose between voting, their safety

🇺🇸🔗https://www.voanews.com/science-health/coronavirus-outbreak/coronavirus-fears-could-become-defining-us-election-issue
recent news report hinted at ‘concerns’ that the pandemic could ‘disrupt the election process itself’.