We are pleased to share with you this report on the truly extraordinary year that was. As we reflect on the Brennan Center’s accomplishments in 2020, we can say with great pride and relief that in the end, democracy prevailed — against brazen assaults on our electoral processes, against lies intended to equate ballot access with stolen elections, and against naked attempts to delegitimize the votes and voices of Black and brown people.
The events of the past year brought into sharp focus the deepening cracks in our systems of democracy and justice. We can no longer take for granted that they will endure in the face of relentless, and increasingly dangerous, attacks.
What is also clear: the mission of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law — to defend, restore, and renew those systems — has never been more vital to our country’s future.
Since its inception 25 years ago, our organization has been at the center of these fights. The Brennan Center is nonpartisan and fiercely independent. We lead with facts — backed by rigorous research, top-notch legal advocacy, and expert communications — to solve the most pressing issues facing our democracy. We work to hold our institutions accountable to the promise of liberty and justice for all.
In 2020, we prioritized protecting the election — countering disinformation, misinformation, and attempts at further suppressing the vote under the pretext of a pandemic. Those efforts — publishing the slate of proposals relied on by national leaders to ensure safe and secure voting, advising election officials and amplifying their trusted voices, partnering with broad coalitions and crafting campaigns to increase voter participation, going to court to protect ballot access, expanding our public reach, and ensuring a strong, well-funded institutional structure and spine — are detailed in the pages that follow.
We enter the new year deeply committed to seizing the opportunities and confronting the challenges ahead. We are ready to usher in an era of renewal and to fully reinforce the values of participatory democracy, equal justice, and the rule of law.
Our charge in 2021: To advance much-needed reforms that have been made possible by new leadership in the White House and Congress. To restore the balance of power among our three branches of government and call out executive overreach. And to craft the next generation of solutions that will revitalize our systems of democracy and justice.
At this pivotal moment, we know that we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to win the change our nation so urgently needs, and that the only way to defend our democracy is to strengthen it.
The Brennan Center is extraordinarily grateful to its community of supporters — people like you, who have long partnered with us, encouraged us, and enabled our efforts to protect our shared, treasured values. As we celebrate every success, learn from every challenge, and look ahead to the promise of all that is to come, we thank you for your steadfast commitment.
Here’s to a better, more democratic, and more just America — for all.
Co-chair, Board of Directors
Co-chair, Board of Directors