Why Pres. Obama's suggested Mandatory Voting plan wouldn't address corruption

President Obama, speaking at the City Club of Cleveland Wednesday, was asked what he thought he could do about the issue of money in politics. And his answer - for the short term, at least - is to suggest that America make voting mandatory, as they do in Australia.

Whatever advantages to mandatory voting, it wouldn't do anything to stop the flow of money in politics. Indeed, it may worsen the problem, as the most apathetic towards voting would be most likely to be affected by the expensive advertising campaigns that require politicians to sell out to the highest bidder.

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Our Next Act

Ours is no ordinary drama.

Act 1 [complete]: Walk 12,081 miles through the New Hampshire snow to show the nation that We the People are fed up with big money corrupting our politics, and we won’t stand by. Thanks to your incredible sacrifice, our January walk was the biggest and boldest demonstration of citizen support for reform in memory, giving hope to many and winning headlines around the nation. Check out this CNN story and read our Report to the Movement to see how far we’ve come. 

Act 2 [underway]Ask the Question of every presidential candidate until they commit to real reform of money in politics. Sign our petition today demanding the candidates answer our Question, What specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence of money in politics? While you're there, join a local team to question the candidates directly when they visit NH and other primary states – and be sure to request a free bumper sticker! 


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Presidents Day

Happy Presidents Day. On this day, our message to the next President – fix the root problem first.


Report to the Movement


We've compiled our official "Walk for Reform" report.  You can download the full version as a PDF here, but here are some of the highlights from the report:

Over ten chilly days, nearly 500 registered walkers logged 12,081 miles carrying signs and American flags to raise awareness and demonstrate to the presidential candidates that the people demand reform of money in politics. The walkers held 34 public engagement events across New Hampshire involving over 2,000 citizens and caught the attention of thousands more Granite Staters and millions of Americans through 132 media reports in over 50 state and national publications. On January 21st, the four walks converged on the state capitol in Concord for an historic Rally for Democracy and “Granny D Gala: Walk the Talk” on the 5th anniversary of the Supreme Court Citizens United decision.

Building on the success of the inaugural 190-mile New Hampshire Rebellion walk from Dixville Notch to Nashua, NH in January 2014, the January 2015 walk added three additional routes totaling 300 miles. An estimated 500 walkers participated, including 441 registered walkers from 42 states and seven foreign countries; 132 individuals signed up to walk for multiple days. The walkers logged a combined 12,081 miles before arriving together in Concord for a State House rally and celebration on January 21st.

To maximize exposure and increase participation, the four simultaneous walks departed from four corners of the state in Dixville Notch, Keene, Portsmouth, and Nashua, NH. The walks covered between 40 and 150 miles each over 4 to 10 days, reaching 47 New Hampshire cities and towns home to 37 percent of the state’s population. Each walk featured daily outreach, educational, and/or theatrical events free and open to the public in libraries, churches, community centers, parks, etc.

The walks were organized by Open Democracy’s team of field managers and pro-bono partners, and supported by over 100 volunteer drivers, hosts, and community organizations. Volunteers provided meals and accommodation in churches, community centers, home-stays, and motels. Walkers wore safety vests and carried signs, American flags, and educational materials for general public distribution. Participation in the walks was open to the public and free of charge.

NH Rebellion Walks Overview, 2014-15
  Launch Walk,
January 2014
Independence Walk,
July 2014
Cross-NH Walk,
January 2015,
Route Distance (mi.) 190 16 300 506
Distance Walked (mi.) 6,581 8,352 12,081 27,041
Total Walkers 207 520 500 (est) 1,227
Multi-Day Walkers 19 n/a 132 151
NH Cities/Towns 22 5 47 51
NH Population Covered 29% 4% 37% 40%
Media Exposure (hits) 115 35 132 282
Temperature Range -3°F to 40°F 65°F to 74°F -37°F to 39°F -37°F to 74°F

Lawrence Lessig Talk at NHRebellion Granny D Celebration

Celebration marking the end of the second NHR walk across New Hampshire in January and the 105th birthday of Doris "Granny D" Haddock. 


Congressman Sarbanes Speaks to the NH Rebellion

Message from Congressman Sarbanes to the NH Rebellion walkers. 


Our community is stronger than political corruption

Feb. 3 — To the Editor:
Last month nearly 100 residents of the Seacoast area helped complete the NH Rebellion’s Granny D Walk to end systemic corruption in elections. After marching through the ice and snow for 50 miles down Route 4 from Portsmouth to Concord, they arrived at the State House on Jan. 21 for a day of festivities, joining hundreds of other walkers who had traversed the state from Keene, Nashua, and Dixville Notch.
I had the distinct privilege of being part of our local walk from Portsmouth to Concord. This movement is about connecting with our local communities and empowering each other, and I was humbled by the participation of so many dedicated individuals and community-minded local businesses. Along the four-day walk, very many local organizations and businesses participated, either by assisting the walkers or cheering us on from the sidelines.
Many heartfelt thanks go out to all those organizations that opened their doors to the walkers as we passed by. Overnight housing for us was graciously provided by the Community Church of Durham, Epsom Public Library, and Northwood Congregational Church — and we were kept well-fed by South Church of Portsmouth, Newmarket Community Church, Bow Lake Baptist Church, and Northwood Advent Church. And amazingly, all of the students of the alternative school The Penn Program in Newmarket not only walked the whole way, but volunteered in many other roles. Other local business partners along Route 4 between Portsmouth and Concord include Susty’s Restaurant, Mary’s Dogs Rescue, Country Hills Gifts, Cole Gardens, Emery Farm, Camping World, JW Precision Co Inc, Purdy Funeral Home, and Happy Homes for Dogs.
We walked to give a voice to everyday people in our communities — so, without the cooperation of the small businesses and organizations in our communities, the walk would not only have been impossible, but meaningless. Thank you to all of you, for caring about your community, and standing with us!
Ellen Read

Hambycast Takes on The NH Rebellion


The NHRebellion Super Bowl Ad

A remix on our Thunderclap ad which ran during last year's Super Bowl halftime cc: the great @davidcascino 


Thank you, 27 million steps toward reform


The following blog post was created from a email sent by Lawrence Lessig to all NH Rebellion supporters on January 29th, 2015. 

Updated February 15th, 2015: Please take a look at coverage of the walk on CNN's Hambycast

People called me “crazy” when I first proposed to walk across New Hampshire in the blistering cold of winter over a year ago. But one year and over 300 miles later, the NH Rebellion walks for democracy have been some of the most exciting times of my life — and the first steps to reclaiming our Republic.

On the morning of January 11, 35 citizen rebels joined me in Dixville Notch to start the 2015 NH Rebellion walk. Over the next 10 days, over 500 souls covering 27 million steps braved the icy winds of New Hampshire just to make this point: We want an end to corruption. We want a government that works for US.

Despite the ice and wind, we were greeted warmly everywhere we went. People are hungry for a solution. People know that the way our elections are funded guarantees that only special interests are heard. Motorists honked and waved while driving by. Supporters came out of their homes in their pajamas to cheer us on. Neighbors invited us inside for hot chocolate and soup. With their encouragement, the miles melted away.

ella.jpgAnd on top of Granite Staters’ support, our walkers from all corners of the country (and beyond!) were dedicated and inspiring. But more than anyone, we were all moved by 15-year-old Ella McGrail who spoke at the Rally for Democracy in Concord. Take a few minutes to watch her incredible speech. She has wisdom beyond her years, and that inspired us all.

We have also complied the walk photos on our Flickr site to view or download. Take a look and share what you like.

To each of you who have supported us — whether by walking, volunteering, donating, spreading the word, giving us soup or a place to sleep, or sending us words of encouragement — thank you. This movement is about all of us together. With your help, New Hampshire will lead politicians to answer this fundamental question: What specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence of money in politics?

2015 is going to be a big year. Presidential candidates will be making announcements before we know it. Little do they know what we have in store for them. Send us your ideas, and stay tuned.