Defend democracy in the South.

Democracy Program

The Democracy Program at the Institute for Southern Studies provides research, analysis, and educational tools to promote a stronger democracy. Through the program, the Institute monitors key democracy issues, reports on democracy trends in the Institute's online magazine Facing South, and collaborates with partners to advance a pro-democracy agenda, with a special focus on North Carolina. For more information, contact Benjamin Barber, Democracy Program coordinator, at



Issue Backgrounder: Voter and Election Official Intimidation in North Carolina (2023)

Issue Backgrounder: Independence of Boards of Elections in North Carolina (2023)

Issue Backgrounder: Youth Voting Access in North Carolina (2023)

Issue Backgrounder: Early Voting and Same-Day Registration in North Carolina (2023)

Report: Blueprint for a Stronger Democracy (North Carolina, 2023)

Report: Blueprint for a Stronger Democracy (North Carolina, 2021)



Voting rights journalist Ari Berman on opposing minority rule (5/29/24)

AI disinformation poses new risks for Southern voters (5/1/24)

Honoring John Lewis' expansive vision of American democracy on the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday (3/4/24)

Election disruptions and barriers in Southern states point to challenges for 2024 (11/17/23)

Language access at the ballot box lags in a diversifying South (9/27/23)

House Democrats revive push to pass federal voting rights protections (9/27/23)

Defamation and democracy: N.C. Supreme Court agress to hear case over false claims of voter fraud (9/1/23)

Unite N.C. tour mobilizes communities as lawmakers pass restrictive voting changes (8/30/23)

Southern lawmakers undermine ballot access for voters with disabilities (7/19/23)

10 Years post-Shelby, NC lawmakers advance slate of new voter restrictions and election changes (6/29/23)

Southern states at serious risk of election subversion (5/25/23)

South Carolina gerrymandering case could further erode the Voting Rights Act (5/25/23)

N.C. Supreme Court sets up tight timeline to implement voter ID (5/12/23)

Why felony disenfranchisement is a public safety problem (5/12/23)

Gene Nichol on North Carolina's lessons for America's democracy struggle (5/11/23)

Behind the GOP plan to block the youth vote (4/27/23)

State voter roll protection alliance comes under far-right attack (3/30/23)

Pro-democracy 'blueprint' guides key voting bills in North Carolina (3/30/23)

Census corrections show how Southern communities benefit from prisons (2/24/23)

North Carolina advocates offer detailed blueprint to strengthen democracy (2/16/23)

Southern legislatures undermine democracy through rules changes (2/8/23)

Criminalizing voters in Southern states (1/27/23)

Georgia officials consider changes to Georgia's runoff election system (1/12/23)

Companies break promises to stop funding Trump coup backers (1/11/23)



The South’s Democracy Struggle Reaches New Urgency (Southern Cultures, 2024)

Interview with Benjamin Barber of the Institute for Southern Studies (Cardinal Pine. 8/30/23)

New North Carolina Election Bill Would Suppress Votes, Voting Groups Say (Cardinal & Pine, 6/21/23)

North Carolina advocates share blueprint for a stronger democracy (Carolina Public Press 4/25/23)

Interview with Melissa Price Kromm of N.C. Voters for Clean Elections (NC NewsLine 3/27/23)

Groups rally in Raleigh urging NC lawmakers to strengthen democracy (CBS17 2/26/23)

New report lays out vision for democracy reform in North Carolina (NC NewsLine 6/9/21)