Democracy Activist Danielle Allen Makes the Case for a MassDems Commission on Healthy Democracy

Thanks to Danielle Allen, chair of the Cambridge Ward 2 Democratic Committee, for meeting with the Boston Ward 4 Dems and sharing an important proposal aimed at strengthening the state party’s standards of inclusion, engagement, and competitiveness:

Proposal for a MassDems Commission on Healthy Democracy

THE OPPORTUNITY: MassDems is at a position of historic strength. This provides us with an

excellent opportunity to advance the health of democracy in Massachusetts, as standard setters

for the nation in a time of crisis for democracy. We should seek to advance three principles: full inclusion

of BIPOC populations in democratic participation; increased engagement of voters in the Democratic

party; more competitive elections.

THE CHALLENGE: Healthy democracy in Massachusetts needs attention on all three fronts:

full inclusion

● BIPOC participation– in 2020 and 2022 US census data, voting registration rates for

African American, Hispanic & Asian American voters came in below the national average;

● Our candidate ballot access process for statewide and federal offices is the most restrictive

in the country

increased engagement

● 61% of MA voters are no longer in a party and only 29% of voters are currently enrolled in

the Democratic party.

more competitive

● Massachusetts ranks near or at the bottom across the country with regard to our number

of contested elections, and 68% of voters in a recent survey agreed with the statement:

“Democracy would be stronger in Massachusetts if elections here were more competitive,

with more candidates running at all levels, and more incumbents facing challenges.”

THE ACTION STEP: MassDems can be a champion for democracy by establishing a

Commission for Healthy Democracy to find solutions for inclusion, engagement, and

competitiveness. This Commission will study the challenges; run focus groups, listening

sessions, and conduct survey research; study best practices around the country; and source,

explore, and develop solutions and shared targets and KPIs that would determine success on

inclusion, engagement, and competition. The Commission would answer questions like:

● How do we increase registration for communities that have been marginalized?

● How do we take down barriers and roadblocks to people running for office while

protecting candidate quality?

● How do we get more people to register as Democrats? What causes some people

to choose unenrolled? What encourages people to or drives them away from the

Democratic party?

● Should we be focusing on youth voters? If so, how?

Proposal for a MassDems Commission on Healthy Democracy


1. Either individually or as a committee, please Sign-up via the Supporters Google


2. Please send an email message of support to:

a. MassDems Chair Steve Kerrigan; Executive Director, Joe Sherlock; and

Senior Political Director, Nigel Simon at

3. Please leave a voicemail of support at party headquarters: 617-939-0800

4. Please contact your representatives on the MassDems State Committee to share a

message of support for the Proposal for a Commission on Healthy Democracy.

5. After you have completed these steps, please return to the Google form to record

whom you contacted and when.

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