AwareNow: Issuu 17: The United Edition

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Page 117

FEATURE STORY WITH FREE & EQUAL

UNITED WE STAND

BRINGING MORE VOICES TO AMERICAN ELECTIONS

FREE & EQUAL PRESENTS THE UNITED WE STAND FESTIVAL Through the lens of mass media, the political divide in the United States is deeper than ever. But what many people may not know is this division is not absolute. In fact, according to Gallup, a startling 50% of Americans identify as independent. Even though most Americans fall somewhere in the middle politically, every election year, only two highly polarized candidates make it to the stage. Free & Equal is looking to change that.

Bringing Independent Voices to American Elections: Meet Free & Equal Founder Christina Tobin

Since 2009, Free & Equal Elections, a nonpartisan political nonprofit organization, has been working tirelessly to elevate independent voices and raise awareness of these candidates.

For over a decade, Free & Equal has organized annual electoral reform symposiums, produced presidential debates, supported election transparency through the development of a blockchain voting app, created its own independent media source Free & Equal TV, and hosted annual United We Stand Festivals.

“Our mission is to open the electoral process through education and collaborative action,” says founder Christina Tobin.

Through the support of the speakers, artists, and independent candidates, Free & Equal’s campaigns have built tremendous momentum behind the movement to bring transparency and more candidate choices to U.S. voters.

The Uphill Battle Free & Equal Is Overcoming

Through determination, resilience and passion Free & Equal has managed to get hundreds of thousands of people to listen to their message. Something as simple as getting an independent candidate on every state ballot comes with more than a few hoops to jump through.

First of all, there’s the incredibly high threshold of requirements necessary to get independent candidates into the mainstream presidential debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates, or CPD, requires independent candidates poll at least 15% across five randomly selected polls, many of which don’t even include the names of alternative candidates in the first place.

Navigating the divisive corporate media, coupled with the power and stranglehold that the CPD has over the presidential debates, is why we charted our own path and created open debates. 117 AWARENOW / THE UNITED EDITION

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