Jul 6, 2022 - Politics & Policy

A supper club with democracy on the menu

Illustration table settings assembled like an American flag

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new, nonpartisan group is organizing dinners around the country for friends and neighbors to gather around a pledge to protect American democracy.

Driving the news: Democracydinners.org launched over the July 4 holiday weekend. The partnership with Vote.org aims to allow guests to check their voter registration status or register to vote in real time.

Why it matters: It's part of a growing movement to counter voter apathy, conspiracy theories and lies around voter fraud, as well as some states' efforts to make it more difficult to vote in the wake of the 2020 election.

What they're saying: "The most enjoyable and memorable way to share conversation, discuss important issues and build a community around those issues is over a good meal," the group says on its website.

  • "We are catalyzing a movement of people who care deeply about democracy, who want to remind and share with others why they might feel the same way, and mobilize large numbers of people to take concrete action that will help protect, support and strengthen democracy."

How it works: Visitors to the website are asked to fill out a volunteer form asking whether they'd like to host a gathering in their homes or backyards or a restaurant.

  • The group provides suggested formats, discussion guides and instructions for how to take action, including around voter registration.

Details: Its executive director is Jim Clark, founder of the Global Partnership for Civic Engagement and a non-profit and pro-democracy advocate whose work with Democrats dates to President Clinton's 1992 campaign.

  • Founding advisers include Joan Blades of LivingRoomConversations.org; Democratic communications consultant Karen Finney and pollster Celinda Lake; Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy; and Sterling Speirn, who heads the Maine Community Foundation and previously led the National Conference on Citizenship.
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