Frequently Asked Questions



  • Is Democracy Rules a Political Organization?

  • Why are we named Democracy Rules?

  • What is the Democracy Rules Pledge?

  • How is Democracy Rules funded?

  • Are Democracy Rules pledges or donations tax deductible?

  • Why does Democracy Rules require so much personal information?

  • What is the Democracy Rules Presentation Cycle?

  • How can one avoid missing a presentation cycle deadline?

  • Can a Presentation Cycle be nullified?

  • Will pledge funds ever be sent to a recipient who did not win the Trustee Election?

  • How objective are Democracy Rules issue descriptions?

  • How is legislation selected for each issue?

  • What is Democracy Rules legislative strategy?

  • What is Democracy Rules trustee strategy?

  • Why would I donate money to a politician which I generally oppose?

  • How long will it take to affect an issue?

  • How are my pledge letters sent to my representatives?

  • What is the purpose of the issue and trustee suggestion boxes?

  • What is the Archives section?

  • What are the Opinion Polls?

  • What is a Democracy Rules Long Term Campaign?

  • What is Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Aid?

  • What is the My Account section?

  • What is the Merchandise Section?

  • What is the purpose of Democracy Rules Blogs?

  • What is the Tell-A-Friend function?

  • What does Democracy Rules require of its members?

  • What is Democracy Rules Affiliate Licensing?

  • Is Democracy Rules a Political Organization?

    Most social welfare problems equally affect all people across the ideological spectrum. And although operating in the political arena, DR is not a political-based organization - as it does not take a stand on electoral candidates or participate in the election process. Rather, DR is a nonpartisan issues-oriented political action committee designed to neutralize our nation's divisiveness and to unify - issue by issue - Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike.


  • Why are we named Democracy Rules?

    Our name was chosen to acknowledge humankind's best form of government and also because all our important decisions are decided by democratic vote.


  • What is the Democracy Rules Pledge?

    The combined effort of many Americans working continuously to address specific issues has the potential to solve many of our nationís problems. However, this is only a secondary benefit of Democracy Rules, which was created to promote democratic ideals. These ideals include the right of each person to participate in their governance, and the right of a nation to be governed by the majority of its people. As such, DR is exclusively dedicated to upholding the principles of democracy and is not interested in moving any particular issue in one direction or the other. To the utmost of our ability, Democracy Rules pledges to unfailingly prosecute the directives of our members.


  • How is Democracy Rules funded?

    Democracy Rules is committed to being as free of cost as possible. We do not charge membership fees or extract commissions from memberís pledges. The only deductions from a deposit into a memberís account are the merchant fees PayPal charges to process credit card payments (2.2% and $0.30 per transaction), plus 2.8% for DRís administrative costs which include office, accounting, website, marketing, and security expenses The combined amount of these deductions total 5% plus $0.30 per PayPal transaction. In other words, members who deposit $100 into their account will have $94.70 available to affect the issues they helped elect. To our knowledge, no other advocacy organization spends 94.7% of their donations directly on the issues in which it is involved..

    Democracy Rules does not maintain a relationship with any entity unrelated to the operation of our website. We have not and will not accept contributions from any special-interest individual or organization including any advocate, industry or government group. Also, to avoid conflicts of interest, we do not allow advertising on our website. As with our nation's democracy, we depend upon the voluntary support of our members to survive. We do accept donations from individuals and hope our members will make small, regular donations to assist with costs.


  • Are Democracy Rules pledges or donations tax deductible?

    The Democracy Rules organization consists of two separate entities. The first, Democracy Rules Inc., is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)4 political action committee corporation (IRS EIN #68-0486197). Monetary pledges to legislators are considered lobbying expenditures and therefore are not tax deductible. The second entity, Democracy Rules Admin Inc., is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)3 advocacy corporation (IRS EIN #92-1538608). Monetary donations to assist with the cost of researching, tracking and publishing objective information on our 345 social welfare issues and legislation are tax deductible. In short, member pledges forwarded to legislators are not tax deductible. Member funds donated to assist in DRís administration costs are tax deductible - and greatly appreciated.


  • Why does Democracy Rules require so much personal information?

    The Federal Election Commission (FEC) requires political donors to report their name, address, occupation and employer if a donation exceeds $50. This information is forwarded to a legislatorís primary campaign committee along with our memberís pledges. The FEC also limits an individualís aggregate donations to $2,700 for either a primary or general election. Other information collected by DR is used for security reasons and our Regional Stats. Except to comply with FEC requirements, Democracy Rules will never sell, share or voluntarily divulge any of our memberís personal information to any third party.


  • What is the Democracy Rules Presentation Cycle?

    Democracy Rulesí three-week (21-day) presentation cycle is a process which identifies both our memberís most important issues and their position on these issues. DR organizes 345 social welfare issues into 25 categories ranging from Agriculture to Terrorism. Each category is divided into several subcategories, and each subcategory contains 3 issues. After choosing their most important issue in a subcategory, a member may then vote to support or oppose that issue. There are 6 possible polling options for each subcategory - three issues, each with a support or oppose option. At the conclusion of the 7-day polling period, the option with the greatest number of votes in each subcategory will be ďpresentedĒ to our membership for pledge acceptance - which also lasts 7 days. The minimum pledge is one dollar and the option of writing a short letter to your representatives to convey your feelings about that issue. Those who have pledged to an issue may then vote for the recipient, or trustee, of their pledge groupís funds during the 7-day trustee election beginning on the 15th cycle day.

    A member may join a presentation cycle at any time by pledging before the end of the trustee election on the 21st day. Members may participate in as many issues as desired, and they may pledge to an issue without having participated in the issue poll, or even if they had voted for a different polling option. Reelecting an issue, from cycle-to-cycle, will allow continued and increasingly-ambitious action on an issue, even when it is out of the media spotlight. A tie in voting during the issue poll or trustee election will be resolved in favor of the option which received the earliest vote. Once a category concludes its trustee election, it will revert to the polling section.

    It only takes about 15 seconds to login, poll, pledge, or vote on any one specific issue if you know beforehand what youíre going to do. Reading website text, submitting suggestions, and writing letters take a little more time but are not required for participation. However, sending a letter to your representatives will significantly increase the impact of your efforts to affect an issue. In all, it requires less than $40 and about a half hour each week for one to fully participate in each of DRís 117 issues presented during our 3-week cycle.


  • How can one avoid missing a presentation cycle deadline?

    The easiest way to avoid missing any polling, pledging or voting deadlines is to log on once every 7 days. DR will poll new subcategories each week, thus ensuring there will always be a new issue poll, pledging period and trustee election every 7 days. Also, please note that in order to ensure all those in the Continental U.S. have until midnight to vote, Democracy Rules operates in the Pacific Time Zone.


  • Can a Presentation Cycle be nullified?

    Occasionally, it may be necessary to nullify the results of a presentation cycle. This may occur if a trustee refuses our pledges, an advocate group ceases to exist, or an issue is resolved. Should this occur, we will credit the funds collected during that presentation cycle to the accounts of those who pledged. Other circumstances may also require the nullification of a presentation cycle and the need for pledges to be returned. It is possible that members could cast conflicting votes on an issue - voting to support an issue one cycle and voting to oppose it the next. This could put DR in the awkward position of having to award funds to a trustee to both support and oppose an issue. Should this occur before the originally-elected funds are dispersed, DR will credit the accounts of the minority pledge group and promote the interests of the majority group.


  • Will pledge funds ever be sent to a recipient who did not win the Trustee Election?

    The intent of our membership will always dictate DRís actions. However, legislators and the status of legislation may change from what was displayed during a Presentation Cycle. Such changes may occur when a bill changes committees, or if committee members change during, or shortly after, a cycle concludes. One such recent example is the ouster of the House Speaker, and the extended time it took to elect a successor. When these types of situations occur, DR will forward a pledge groupís funds to the new Speaker, committee, chairperson, or chamber. If an advocate organization is no longer able or willing to perform the actions expected of it, DR will forward the pledge groupís funds to a similar group with the original mandate. DR will post each of these changes on our home page announcements section. Should DR be unable to comply with any significant changes, the cycle will be nullified and pledge funds will be credited to the accounts of those pledged.


  • How objective are Democracy Rules issue descriptions?

    Our issue descriptions attempt to provide brief and accurate definitions, histories, statistics and some pro and con positions on each of our issues. Although Democracy Rules realizes most members have previously formed opinions on these issues, we do not wish to influence the vote of any uncommitted member. Therefore, we strongly recommend members research the issues on which they intend to vote. But if truth be told, DRís issue descriptions are immaterial. All that really matters is the legislation associated with an issue Ė for that is what youíre voting to support or oppose.


  • How is legislation selected for each issue?

    The legislation associated with our issues has been determined by our managers to have the best potential to affect an issue. However, DR cautions our members that our brief summaries of these bills may be incomplete, and we strongly recommend accessing Congress.gov for the complete text, status and summary of all pending legislation. Occasionally, the opaque language used in some of these bills make it difficult to discern their true purpose, but plain-English summaries can usually be found online.


  • What is Democracy Rules legislative strategy?

    DRís choice of legislative trustee candidates will include those with jurisdiction over legislation associated with our issues. When identifying a legislator to introduce or reintroduce a bill, DR will first consider those who have previously sponsored or cosponsored legislation similar to that issue. However, it is difficult for an outsider to devise a successful bill-passing strategy without knowledge of the inner dynamics of a committee or chamber - and the pressure that special interests bear upon it. Democracy Rules intends to request the assistance of a billís sponsor to accomplish this feat. Sponsors have intimate knowledge of the forces opposing their bill and should be willing to recommend the best strategy to overcome that opposition.

    DRís overwhelming preference will always be to cooperate and partner with legislators who control the fate of our proposed legislation. Unfortunately, the hyper-partisan behavior demonstrated by recent Congresses has resulted in unprecedented legislative gridlock, making these sessions among the least productive in history - with the possible exception of the 117th. It is possible our memberís pledges may be insufficient to convince the chairperson of a committee to support our goals. Rather than continuing to send pledge funds to an nonresponsive legislator, DR will increase its number of advocate trustee candidates - including media and legal firms - to affect issues by working at the grass-roots level. It is thought that funding media campaigns and litigation may have a better chance of affecting some issues than does a divided Congress. DR can offer our members the option of running commercials in a legislatorís home district which highlight their opposition to a popular issue. And in extreme cases, we will give our members the option of awarding their pledges to a competitor for the office held by an obstructive legislator. This tactic-of-last-resort will focus on the Primary Election of the nonresponsive legislator in an attempt to replace him or her with a more sympathetic member of their own political party, if possible.

    The long-term legislative strategy of Democracy Rules is to replace the special interest funding of our legislatorís reelection campaigns. Therefore, DR will make a conscious effort to rotate trustee candidates throughout the legislative process in order to involve as many legislators as possible Ė on both sides of the isle. For example, should funding allow, DR would make trustee candidates of all members of a subcommittee, committee, or chamber.


  • What is Democracy Rules trustee strategy?

    Trustee candidates will normally be those controlling legislation our members wish to support or oppose. Often, this will be the Chairperson and/or members of a committee or sub-committee which have jurisdiction over our bill. Each Congress, the vast majority of proposed legislation dies in committee when ďleft on the tableĒ - unless scheduled for consideration by the Chairperson, who decides whether a bill is reported for testimony and voted on by their committee members. This vote determines whether or not that bill shall advance to another committee or to the House/Senate floor for a vote by all chamber members. With their ability to waive the requirement for committee review, the Senate Leader and the House Speaker determine whether to block a bill, bring a bill up for a floor vote, or expedite actions of a bill which must be reviewed by a large number of committees. All of these legislators are potential trustee candidates.

    It is important to remember that awarding pledge funds to a legislatorís re-election committee is not conditional upon any return action by that lawmaker. A quid-pro-quo expectation of such a transaction would be considered an unlawful bribe - whether committed by Democracy Rules or any other lobbying organization. Upon the completion of each presentation cycle, all funds pledged to the principal campaign committee of a legislative trustee will be forwarded without terms or conditions. And although these pledge funds are accompanied by an unrelated letter requesting the legislator to favorably consider our memberís wishes regarding that issue, he or she is under no obligation to do so - and some will not. This is the reason writing letters and voting in elections are as important in enacting change as are monetary donations. A constituentís letter to a legislator communicates their position on an issue they will vote on, just as a contribution communicates a voterís support for a representative who acts in a responsible and representative manner.

    Democracy Rules also offers trustee candidacies to advocate groups that are working with our issues Ė as well as legal and public relations firms - all of which can push issues in the direction our memberís desire. One requirement of these groups is to ensure DR funding expands their programs rather than funds their present efforts. Any entity with the potential to positively affect an issue could be considered as a trustee candidate. Should a legal or PR firm be elected to file a lawsuit or create an ad campaign without sufficient funds being pledged for such an action, these funds will either be held until additional funding arrives via future presentation cycles, or credited to the accounts of those who pledged. Members may submit suggestions for trustee candidates to DR administrators during the pledging period of our presentation cycle for possible inclusion in a future cycle. Once ascertained, trustee evaluations will be displayed in our archives section.




  • Democracy Rules is not a political-based organization - as it does not take a stand on electoral candidates or participate in the election process. Rather, DR is a nonpartisan issues-based organization designed to neutralize divisiveness and to unify - issue by issue - Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike. We must be able to influence issues regardless of who holds office, or which political party is in power. As most social welfare problems equally affect all people across the ideological spectrum, DR treats all members of Congress equally, We ask our members to prioritize solving problems over personal or party affiliation because it doesnít matter who is making our lives better, only that it happens.


  • How long will it take to affect an issue?

    In addition to the time and financial resources needed to affect an issue, two other assets are equally important: Patience and Perseverance. Instant gratification and quick success are rare in the lobbying business. Successful efforts to affect an issue must be sustained over months, years, and even Congresses. The alternative is for our nation to fall deeper into the hands of special interest groups. But it could also be viewed that each dollar we send to a representative is one less dollar they need from these groups - regardless of the time it takes to affect an issue.

    By pledging a single dollar every three weeks, DR enables our members to help influence their most important issue for only about $17/year. We believe that donating a dollar toward oneís favorite issue over 17 presentation cycles will be more effective than donating $17 in one cycle. We also believe writing letters for each issue (and voting for representatives who respond to them) are extremely important and effective measures. The collective efforts of our members are the chief attribute DR brings to the political table, and is its most powerful weapon against special interests. DR members could elevate Democracy Rules above all these other groups as it can deliver not only resources to affect an issue as lobbyists can, but also voices and votes - things they can't.


  • How are my pledge letters sent to my representatives?

    Unfortunately, nearly every Representative and Senator has decided against maintaining public fax numbers or email addresses to receive comments from their constituents. One must now submit these messages through a repís web form on their website. Therefore, DR has installed a text box on our pledge page to facilitate this communication. After completing your letter, it must then be cut and pasted onto each of your three representativeís web forms - which can be accessed through the links displayed on that page. Please note that some web forms require your 9-digit zip code.

    DR very much hopes these additional steps will not discourage members from contacting their representatives. DR provides a pre-written introduction to your letter to ensure proper heading and legislative reference. However, the most important message that can be conveyed to your representative is contained in the words you write. We suggest explaining to them the relevance and importance of this issue to you. We also recommend mentioning your intention to vote in the next election deciding their office.

    If you prefer not to write a letter, it is still very important to convey your views to your representatives. In this case, you may send your letter as DR has prepared it, without adding to it. This action would not convey your personal feelings, but it does contain your opinion on that issue and it will be recognized as being sent from a constituent. All letters, whether personalized or not, send the message that ďThis issue is important to me. Be careful how you treat it.Ē


  • What is the purpose of the issue and trustee suggestion boxes?

    We ask our members to suggest relevant issues and worthy trustees we may have overlooked. The issue suggestion field is located on the polling page and the trustee suggestion field is located on the pledging page. These suggestions are displayed in our archives section as common-word listings. From these lists, we attempt to discern the most popular and promising suggestions. These issue and trustee suggestions are seriously considered for use in a future presentation cycle.


  • What is the Archives section?

    To help ensure transparency and integrity, Democracy Rules maintains a publicly-displayed archives section which contains all of DRís operational information. For reference purposes, the opening date of an issueís presentation cycle is used to identify that cycle. Complete presentation cycle data is displayed here in real-time before being permanently recorded at the conclusion of each cycle. DR also requests its advocate and legislative trustees to self-evaluate their actions on behalf of our members. These evaluations, trustee payment records, and all DR financial data, including income, expense and tax information is displayed in this section. Archived information may also be useful to members when deciding how to best affect an issue and when reviewing the effects of previous support actions. Lastly, the archive section also displays the totals of our disaster relief and humanitarian aid efforts, as well as long-term campaign totals, and the results of our opinion polls.


  • What are the Opinion Polls?

    The function of our homepage opinion polls are solely for the interest of our members and are not related to any presentation cycle. These polls are also used to assist administrators in deciding policy. Results are archived.


  • What is a Democracy Rules Long Term Campaign?

    The purpose of a Democracy Rules Long Term Campaign is to enable funding for an issue that requires long-term action. Campaigns provide an issue with consistent, prolonged support that is not dependent upon a presentation cycle. Long-term campaigns may used to amend our Constitution, affect an issue, or enact a boycott. Once members vote to enact a campaign, it is displayed on our home page and all members are notified of its existence. Members may then donate to a variety of options designed to advance that issue. These campaigns remain active for as long as they receive adequate donations or until the issue has been resolved.


  • What is Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Aid?

    Democracy Rules accepts monetary donations for humanitarian aid for the populations of countries experiencing disasters, including our own. Members choose what type of aid and which aid agency to support. Democracy Rules does not extract any fees or commissions from these contributions. Should it not be possible to forward donations to a specific option, these funds will be combined with the next most popular option.


  • What is the My Account section?

    Each member has a personalized account in which they may view their Democracy Rules history and edit their account information. Member's deposit, donation and pledge records are privately displayed in this section. Members may deposit funds into their account using their PayPal account or by credit card. Once deposited, issue pledges and administration donations are drawn from this account.


  • What is the Merchandise Section?

    Democracy Rules offers a line of merchandise embossed with our logo for those who wish to support our organization. Customers must register separately for this section and some items may be slightly different than those displayed online, depending on supplier availability. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks to process an order. Your patronage is very much appreciated.


  • What is the purpose of Democracy Rules Blogs?

    Democracy Rules blogs are for members to discuss issues with one another. However, these blogs are not integrated into our main database so users must register separately in order to participate.


  • What is the Tell-A-Friend function?

    Democracy Rules needs broad participation to succeed and we are dependent upon our member's efforts to advertise our website. Democracy Rules appreciates our member's use of social media to propagate information about DR. Our tell-a-friend function can also be used to send a description and address of the DR website. To email multiple recipients, separate the email addresses by a comma in the text field.


  • What does Democracy Rules require of its members?

    In order to continue as a member, Democracy Rules asks all members to respect the one person, one vote precept basic to all democracies. Democracy Rules employs a number of security protocols to prevent multiple voting. For this reason, only one member is allowed to log in from each computer.


  • What is Democracy Rules Affiliate Licensing?

    The Democracy Rules website can be easily adapted for operation at the regional governmental level to influence local issues. For this reason, we offer state affiliate licenses to those interested in operating a Democracy Rules website in each of our 50 United States. DR may also be capable of affecting issues in other democratic nations as well. We offer residents of each of the 123 global democracies a national affiliate license to operate an individualized version of Democracy Rules. Like DR-USA, these national affiliates will address national issues, and like the United States, the populations of these countries may also desire better representation at the local level. DR offers metropolitan affiliate licenses to residents wishing to affect local issues in each of these democratic nations, including at least 275 metropolises with at least 1 million inhabitants. Democracy Rules employs a self-selection process that simultaneously elects administrators to each prospective affiliate position. Affiliates will operate autonomously but will coordinate efforts with one another when addressing issues common to both affiliates.



 
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