Non-profit

States United Democracy Center

Website:

statesuniteddemocracy.org

Location:

Washington, DC

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Founded:

2020

CEO:

Joanna Lydgate

The States United Democracy Center is a left-leaning election law organization that was founded in 2020 as the Voter Protection Program (not to be confused the Voter Protection Project, another left-leaning election advocacy organization). The organization was founded as one of many organizing coalitions and left-leaning strategy groups to coordinate left-leaning advocacy groups and Democratic campaign committees in the event that then-President Donald Trump lost and subsequently contested the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. The organization was founded by Norm Eisen, a left-leaning lawyer who served as the “Ethics Czar” in the Obama White House. The organization was created due to Eisen recruiting prominent Democratic and moderate former Republican politicians to the board of the organization.

Following the 2020 election, the organization rebranded as the States United Democracy Center and is currently led by Eisen as well as former Massachusetts Chief Deputy Attorney General Joanna Lydgate, and former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman (R). [1] [2]

Background

Norm Eisen founded the Voter Protection Program by recruiting an ostensibly bipartisan board of prominent individuals and retired politicians. The organization was mentioned in a February 2021 Time article that celebrated a joint campaign by corporate executives, labor union leaders, and Democratic Party operatives who anticipated that in the event of a loss, that President Donald Trump would fight the results of the election, pointing to his criticism of mail-in ballots and other election mechanisms throughout the campaign. The coalition challenged Trump’s push for recounts following alleged delays and discrepancies in the 2020 election results and urged left-leaning advocacy groups and organizers to not stage protests in the days following the election. The article identified Eisen as a recruiter for the Voter Protection Program, an organization created to shut down President Trump’s efforts to contest the election outcome. [3]

Activity

Following the 2020 election, the States United Democracy Center organized a team of lawyers to oppose challenges to the election results and in January 2021 released a legal memo detailing the organization’s stance that Vice President Mike Pence had no constitutional authority to reject slates of electors. [4]

Other resources from the organization include opposing Republican-led state-level election integrity legislation and supporting the Democratic-led congressional legislation H.R. 1, which includes a variety of left-leaning election policies that would be instituted nationally. The organization also opposed the audit of 2020 election results in Arizona and opposes similar plans for audits in Wisconsin, calling them “scam election review attempts.” [5]

People

The States United Democracy Center is led by Joanna Lydgate, who is the organization’s chief executive officer. Lydgate graduated from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and served as the Deputy Attorney General of Massachusetts, a position overseeing all criminal enforcement for the state. [6]

Other leaders of the organization include former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman (R), who is a co-founder and board co-chair of the organization, and Norm Eisen, the executive chair of the organization and a former official in the Obama administration. [7]

Board members of the organization include former Montana Governor Steve Bullock (D), former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge (R), former Massachusetts Governor and Libertarian Vice-Presidential Candidate Bill Weld (R), former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele, Obama Administration Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, as well as several former state Attorneys General, among others. [8]

References

  1. “About Us.” States United Democracy Fund. Accessed October 20, 2021. https://statesuniteddemocracy.org/about-us/ ^
  2. “About Us.” States United Democracy Fund. Accessed October 20, 2021. https://statesuniteddemocracy.org/about-us/our-story/ ^
  3. Molly Ball, “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election,” Time, February 4, 2021. Accessed October 20, 2021. https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/ ^
  4. Cohen, Andew. “States United: Berkeley Connection at New Bipartisan Center Protects Democracy and Election Integrity.” Berkeley Law. Accessed October 21, 2021. https://www.law.berkeley.edu/article/states-united-berkeley-connection-at-new-bipartisan-center-protects-democracy-and-election-integrity/ ^
  5. “Election Protection.” States United Democracy Fund. Accessed October 20, 2021.  https://statesuniteddemocracy.org/our-work/election-protection/ ^
  6. “Our Team.” States United Democracy Fund. Accessed October 20, 2021.  https://statesuniteddemocracy.org/about-us/our-team/ ^
  7. “Our Team.” States United Democracy Fund. Accessed October 20, 2021.  https://statesuniteddemocracy.org/about-us/our-team/ ^
  8.  “Our Team.” States United Democracy Fund. Accessed October 20, 2021.  https://statesuniteddemocracy.org/about-us/our-team/ ^
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States United Democracy Center

1420 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005