Recent election results show that
democracy is on the decline
in the Global South.

(source: EIU Democracy Index 2019 by The Economist)

Recent election results show that democracy is on the decline in the Global South.

(source: EIU Democracy Index 2019 by The Economist)

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But, at Change.org, democracy
does not stop at the ballot box.

But, at Change.org, democracy
does not stop at the ballot box.

With this inaugural Elections Report, the Change.org Foundation is proud to showcase how citizens used people-powered online campaigns to shape election agendas in 2019.

We believe that these uncertain times demand stronger democracies, the voices of the common people and better tools to enable accountability.

With this inaugural Elections Report, the Change.org Foundation is proud to showcase how citizens used people-powered online campaigns to shape election agendas in 2019.

We believe that these uncertain times demand stronger democracies, the voices of the common people and better tools to enable accountability.

A message from
Preethi Herman,
Global Executive Director.

 

"Over the past few years, we’ve seen huge spikes in citizen action on Change.org around the elections held in many countries in the Global South.

With teams in 11 countries, the Change.org Foundation is working to strengthen democracies in these uncertain times, bringing millions of people together to create positive social change in their communities and countries.

We bring to you stories from 6 of these countries where people took action to have their voices heard, built more civic participation and raised the bar for accountability.

We look forward to your feedback and partnership as we deepen this impact in the world."

Copy-of-Preethi-Herman-4

A message from Preethi Herman, Global Executive Director.

"Over the past few years, we’ve seen huge spikes in citizen action on Change.org around the elections held in many countries in the Global South.

With teams in 11 countries, the Change.org Foundation is working to strengthen democracies in these uncertain times, bringing millions of people together to create positive social change in their communities and countries.

We bring to you stories from 6 of these countries where people took action to have their voices heard, built more civic participation and raised the bar for accountability.

We look forward to your feedback and partnership as we deepen this impact in the world."

learn more about our work in each country

learn more about our work in each country

ARGENTINA

Candidates had no other choice
but to engage with citizens

Ahead of the 2019 elections in Argentina, the Change.org Foundation created a new space to target petitions towards candidates. The goal was to increase the accountability of people running for office, some of whom would become decision makers when elected.

ARGENTINA

Candidates had no other choice
but to engage with citizens

Ahead of the 2019 elections in Argentina, the Change.org Foundation created a new space to target petitions towards candidates. The goal was to increase the accountability of people running for office, some of whom would become decision makers when elected.

Citizen action on the platform during the electoral period:

7,900,000
People using Change.org in Argentina

 

In 2018-19:

4,523,269
Total citizen actions on the platform

171
Decision-maker responses to petitions

323
Petitions achieved their goals

Citizen action on the platform during the electoral period:

ar-chart-4

7,900,000

People using Change.org in Argentina
In 2018-19:

4,523,269

Total citizen actions on the platform

171

Decision-maker responses to petitions

323

Petitions achieved their goals
HTML5 Icon

Gastón Wright

Gastón is the Argentina Country Director
at the Change.org Foundation.

"The project Elecciones 2019 created a profile for candidates who were the targets of petitions signed by more than 4 million Argentinian citizens during the election cycle. The results have generated unprecedented media coverage of petitions on Change.org, so much so that the Argentinian Electoral Chamber has asked for data about the issues people care about on the platform."

 Gastón Wright

Gastón is the Argentina Country Director
at the Change.org Foundation.


"The project Elecciones 2019 created a profile for candidates who were the targets of petitions signed by more than 4 million Argentinian citizens during the election cycle. The results have generated unprecedented media coverage of petitions on Change.org, so much so that the Argentinian Electoral Chamber has asked for data about the issues people care about on the platform."

PETITION STARTER'S VOICE

I made municipal candidates to discuss the problem of homeless people.

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Josefina
Student of Economics, Buenos Aires

  
  

PETITION STARTER'S VOICE

I made municipal candidates to discuss the problem of homeless people.

(Gustavo Gavotti)
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 profile

Josefina
Student of Economics, Buenos Aires

The number of people living on the streets of Buenos Aires has increased by 23% in the last two years. With the Argentine peso falling in value and the cost of gas, water and electricity bills soaring, more people are finding it difficult to keep their houses.

Josefina started a petition targeting election candidates during the 2019 Argentinian elections. Her petition put the plight of homelessness on the agenda in local elections using Change.org’s decision maker tool, which allows people to identify and communicate with election candidates.

The number of people living on the streets of Buenos Aires has increased by 23% in the last two years. With the Argentine peso falling in value and the cost of gas, water and electricity bills soaring, more people are finding it difficult to keep their houses.

Josefina started a petition targeting election candidates during the 2019 Argentinian elections. Her petition put the plight of homelessness on the agenda in local elections using Change.org’s decision maker tool, which allows people to identify and communicate with election candidates.

Achievement
Influencing the Elections Agenda

 

Using Change.org, Josefina and thousands of other people across Argentina helped shape the agenda during the regional and national elections of 2019.

Achievement
Influencing the Elections Agenda

Using Change.org, Josefina and thousands of other people across Argentina helped shape the agenda during the regional and national elections of 2019.

INDIA

Women step up to lead change

In the last three years, the Change.org Foundation built a community of 150 women change makers to lead social movements in India. The foundation team launched the She Votes Project to elevate women as spokespersons on issues they wanted to change, bringing a lot of issues that were previously unknown into the public narrative and election debate.

INDIA

Women step up to lead change

In the last three years, the Change.org Foundation built a community of 150 women change makers to lead social movements in India. The foundation team launched the She Votes Project to elevate women as spokespersons on issues they wanted to change, bringing a lot of issues that were previously unknown into the public narrative and election debate.

Citizen action on the platform during the electoral period:

18,800,000
People using Change.org in India

 

In 2018-19:

9,546,264
Total citizen actions on the platform

174
Decision-maker responses to petitions

432
Petitions achieved their goals

Citizen action on the platform during the electoral period:

in-chart-3

18,800,000

People using Change.org in India
In 2018-19:

9,546,264

Total citizen actions on the platform

174

Decision-maker responses to petitions

432

Petitions achieved their goals
HTML5 Icon

Nida Hasan

Nida is the India Country Director
at the Change.org Foundation.

"During National Elections 2019, we wanted to place women changemakers firmly at the core of the Election Agenda of all major political parties in India. Through the She Votes project, for the first-time ever, top political parties used Change.org to hear from regular citizens and included a wide range of their ideas in their Election Manifestos and Vision documents. Sujitha was one of the women Change makers whose campaign demand was included in an Election manifesto."

Nida Hasan

Nida is the India Country Director
at the Change.org Foundation.


"During National Elections 2019, we wanted to place women changemakers firmly at the core of the Election Agenda of all major political parties in India. Through the She Votes project, for the first-time ever, top political parties used Change.org to hear from regular citizens and included a wide range of their ideas in their Election Manifestos and Vision documents. Sujitha was one of the women Change makers whose campaign demand was included in an Election manifesto."

PETITION STARTER'S VOICE

It has been so uplifting to see that there are so many other people who want to fight to get workers protected.

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Sujitha
Founder, Million Dots Foundation, Chennai

  
  

PETITION STARTER'S VOICE

It has been so uplifting to see that there are so many other people who want to fight to get workers protected.

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Sujitha
Founder, Million Dots Foundation, Chennai

Sujitha’s campaign illustrates the impact that women are having on political discourse during elections in India. Although women in India are less likely to engage in civil society, trends on Change.org show that when women do engage in campaigning, they are more likely to have greater resilience and staying power.

Salt pans are shallow ponds of seawater where workers harvest salt, often working long exhausting days without access to water or protective clothing.They are contracted as casual labourers, and so are not covered by health insurance.

Sujitha wanted the plight of salt pan workers to become an election issue and for politicians to pledge to change their unsafe working conditions.

Sujitha’s campaign illustrates the impact that women are having on political discourse during elections in India. Although women in India are less likely to engage in civil society, trends on Change.org show that when women do engage in campaigning, they are more likely to have greater resilience and staying power.

Salt pans are shallow ponds of seawater where workers harvest salt, often working long exhausting days without access to water or protective clothing. They are contracted as casual labourers, and so are not covered by health insurance.

Sujitha wanted the plight of salt pan workers to become an election issue and for politicians to pledge to change their unsafe working conditions. Thanks to her hard work and persistence, Sujitha succeeded.

Achievement
Empowering Women to Effect Political Change

 

During the election, Sujitha's petition caught the attention of electoral candidates. The third-largest party committed to creating a commission for the welfare of salt workers in their manifesto. Now the issue is being advocated in the Parliament.

Achievement
Empowering Women to Effect Political Change

During the election, Sujitha's petition caught the attention of electoral candidates. The third-largest party committed to creating a commission for the welfare of salt workers in their manifesto. Now the issue is being advocated in the Parliament.

BRAZIL

Massive Change.org petitions engaged millions in fighting for democracy

The Brazilian Presidential election was marked with violence and a very divisive campaign. The Change.org Foundation provided a platform for ordinary people – those who represent multiple political views – to have their voice heard during the rally.

BRAZIL

Massive Change.org petitions engaged millions in fighting for democracy

The Brazilian Presidential election was marked with violence and a very divisive campaign. The Change.org Foundation provided a platform for ordinary people – those who represent multiple political views – to have their voice heard during the rally.

Citizen action on the platform during the electoral period:

23,600,000
People using Change.org in Brazil

 

In 2018-19:

14,949,18
Total citizen actions on the platform

107
Decision-maker responses to petitions

406
Petitions achieved their goals

Citizen action on the platform during the electoral period:

br-chart-2

23,600,000

People using Change.org in Brazil
In 2018-19:

14,949,182

Total citizen actions on the platform

107

Decision-maker responses to petitions

406

Petitions achieved their goals
HTML5 Icon

Monica Souza

Monica is the Brazil Country Director
at the Change.org Foundation.

"Many petitions started during the election and especially in the aftermath made a very clear point that Brazilians would not give up in the face of fear. These are petitions that cut through the noise, and ask for more transparency and public policies to reinforce our democracy."

Monica Souza

Monica is Brazil Country Director
at the Change.org Foundation.


"Many petitions started during the election and especially in the aftermath made a very clear point that Brazilians would not give up in the face of fear. These are petitions that cut through the noise, and ask for more transparency and public policies to reinforce our democracy."

PETITION STARTER'S VOICE

Candidates should face the voters - and not just on their own terms using social media.

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Daniel Peres
College Professor, Rio de Janeiro

  
  

PETITION STARTER'S VOICE

Candidates should face the voters - and not just on their own terms using social media.

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Último debate entre candidatos à presidente da República nas eleições de 2018
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Daniel Peres
College Professor, Rio de Janeiro

There is widespread dissatisfaction with the country's political system in Brazil. In fact, only 13% of Brazilians are satisfied with their democracy. President Bolsonaro wanted to skip televised debates in favour of one-on-one interviews where he did not have to face his opponents.

But Daniel wanted to see a more transparent election campaign, one that would provide citizens with the means to scrutinise all candidates and come to their own conclusions. Daniel was not alone: during the heavily polarised campaign, his petition to hold debates resonated strongly with fellow Brazilians.

There is widespread dissatisfaction with the country's political system in Brazil. In fact, only 13% of Brazilians are satisfied with their democracy. President Bolsonaro wanted to skip televised debates in favour of one-on-one interviews where he did not have to face his opponents.

But Daniel wanted to see a more transparent election campaign, one that would provide citizens with the means to scrutinise all candidates and come to their own conclusions. Daniel was not alone: during the heavily polarised campaign, his petition to hold debates resonated strongly with fellow Brazilians.

Achievement
Holding Politicians Accountable

 

At a time of heightened polarized politics, Daniel's petition caught the attention of Brazilian citizens who wanted to ensure that all candidates face real scrutiny.

Achievement
Holding Politicians Accountable

At a time of heightened polarized politics, Daniel's petition caught the attention of Brazilian citizens who wanted to ensure that all candidates face real scrutiny.

THAILAND

Hundreds of thousands turn to Change.org when democracy fails

Thailand held a critical national election in March 2019, the first time since the military took power after a coup d’etat in 2014. The Change.org petition became a rallying point for those who felt let down by the election.

THAILAND

Hundreds of thousands turn to Change.org when democracy fails

Thailand held a critical national election in March 2019, the first time since the military took power after a coup d’etat in 2014. The Change.org petition became a rallying point for those who felt let down by the election.

Citizen action on the platform during the electoral period:

3,500,000
People using Change.org in Thailand

 

In 2018-19:

1,202,224
Total citizen actions on the platform

31
Petitions achieved their goals

Citizen action on the platform during the electoral period:

th-chart-2

3,500,000

People using Change.org in Thailand
In 2018-19:

1,202,224

Total citizen actions on the platform

31

Petitions achieved their goals
HTML5 Icon

Warisara Sornpet

Warisara is the Thailand Country Director
at the Change.org Foundation.

"This iconic Change.org petition demanding electoral transparency created an unprecedented civic space in the country. Now dialogue and debate can develop. In Thailand, when hundreds of thousands of people feel able to support a campaign opposing the actions of people in power, when that campaign is legitimized by widespread media coverage and meetings with decision makers -- a transformation begins to occur."

Warisara Sornpet

Warisara is the Thailand Country Director
at the Change.org Foundation.


"This iconic Change.org petition demanding electoral transparency created an unprecedented civic space in the country. Now dialogue and debate can develop. In Thailand, when hundreds of thousands of people feel able to support a campaign opposing the actions of people in power, when that campaign is legitimized by widespread media coverage and meetings with decision makers -- a transformation begins to occur."

PETITION STARTER'S VOICE

We are coming together to show the power and needs of the people.

profile

We love Thailand
Citizen’s collective, Bangkok

  
  

PETITION STARTER'S VOICE

We are coming together to show the power and needs of the people

thai-election
FdlviCpVdgbsbpX-800×450-noPad
descarga
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 profile

We love Thailand
Citizen’s collective, Bangkok

A Change.org petition was started by a group of young people after the Electoral Commission delayed releasing an indicative vote count. It asked for the impeachment of the seven members of the Electoral Commission and grew in the following three days to more than 800,000 signatures. The petition became a rallying point for those who felt let down by the election.

A Change.org petition was started by a group of young people after the Electoral Commission delayed releasing a final vote count. It asked for the impeachment of the seven members of the Electoral Commission and grew in the following three days to more than 800,000 signatures. The petition became a rallying point for those who felt let down by the election.

Achievement
Harnessing Collective Action in Restricted Political Spaces

 

In an environment where the space for activism has been shrinking, this citizen group in Thailand has shown that unity is strength. By using technology to bring people together online, we’ve seen time and time again how one campaign can snowball and create a movement which reclaims civic space and holds people in power accountable.

Achievement
Harnessing Collective Action in Restricted Political Spaces

In an environment where the space for activism has been shrinking, this citizen group in Thailand has shown that unity is strength. By using technology to bring people together online, we’ve seen time and time again how one campaign can snowball and create a movement which reclaims civic space and holds people in power accountable.

TURKEY

Political energy directed on everyday issues

Looking from the outside in, it would seem to many that the Turkish regional elections in March 2019 were a proxy vote for national politics. But for many people in Turkey, these elections were an opportunity to influence the mandates of local candidates.

TURKEY

Political energy directed on everyday issues

Looking from the outside in, it would seem to many that the Turkish regional elections in March 2019 were a proxy vote for national politics. But for many people in Turkey, these elections were an opportunity to influence the mandates of local candidates.

Citizen action on the platform during the electoral period:

12,500,500
People using Change.org in Turkey

 

In 2018-19:

3,298,618
Total citizen actions on the platform

26
Decision-maker responses to petitions

172
Petitions achieved their goals

Citizen action on the platform during the electoral period:

TR-chart-2

12,500,000

People using Change.org in Turkey
In 2018-19:

3,298,618

Total citizen actions on the platform

26

Decision-maker responses to petitions

172

Petitions achieved their goals
HTML5 Icon

Erhan Çokkeçeci

Erhan is the Turkey Campaigns & Fundraising Director
at the Change.org Foundation.

"In Turkey, the political weather is set in Istanbul. When change happens in Istanbul, it spreads across the country. It’s been so exciting to see candidates being drawn into the issues that matter to residents in Istanbul, and across the country. At a time when there is a lot of uncertainty in our politics and elections, we’re seeing more and more that ordinary people want to have their voices heard."

Erhan Çokkeçeci

Erhan is the Turkey Campaigns & Fundraising Director
at the Change.org Foundation.


"In Turkey, the political weather is set in Istanbul. When change happens in Istanbul, it spreads across the country. It’s been so exciting to see candidates being drawn into the issues that matter to residents in Istanbul, and across the country. At a time when there is a lot of uncertainty in our politics and elections, we’re seeing more and more that ordinary people want to have their voices heard."

PETITION STARTER'S VOICE

The mayor promised 24/7 public transportation, and we made him keep the promise.

profile

Özgür Öz
Engineer, Istanbul

  
  

PETITION STARTER'S VOICE

The mayor promised 24/7 public transportation, and we made him keep the promise.

CILEBUS !
METROBUSTE PAZARTESI SENDROMU. HAFTANIN ILK GUNU ZORLU BASLADI. METROBUS DURAKLARI ANADOLU VE AVRUPA YAKALARINDA DOLDU TASTI SAATLERCE ARACLARA BINMEK ICIN BEKLEYEN VATANDASLAR INSAN SELINI ANDIRDI.
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Özgür Öz
Engineer, Istanbul

Turkey held local elections in March 2019. Although these were not presidential elections, they were largely seen as a referendum on the government of the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. For many people in Turkey, these elections were an opportunity to influence the mandates of local candidates.

Özgür created a petition, which quickly secured the backing of tens of thousands of Istanbul residents. In response, the Mayor of Istanbul confirmed the introduction of a phased roll-out of 24 hour public transport in the city.

Turkey held local elections in March 2019. Although these were not presidential elections, they were largely seen as a referendum on the government of the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. For many people in Turkey, these elections were an opportunity to influence the mandates of local candidates.

Özgür created a petition, which quickly secured the backing of tens of thousands of Istanbul residents. In response, the Mayor of Istanbul confirmed the introduction of a phased roll-out of 24 hour public transport in the city.

Achievement
Highlighting Local Needs

 

With such a heavily politicized local elections, many local needs were not getting the attention of candidates. Özgür made it happen. Public transport affects the lives of millions in Istanbul.

Achievement
Highlighting Local Needs

With such a heavily politicized local elections, many local needs were not getting the attention of candidates. Özgür made it happen. Public transport affects the lives of millions in Istanbul.

COLOMBIA

Peace on the streets and dignity at home

The Change.org Foundation provided a space for people who wanted to engage in the Colombian election outside of the highly polarized and partisan politics of the campaign. Colombia is the most recent country where the Change.org Foundation opened an office, and the results are incredible with more than 1.2 million people participating in successful petitions. As a result, millions of people had their voices amplified on issues that mattered most to them.

COLOMBIA

Peace on the streets and dignity at home

The Change.org Foundation provided a space for people who wanted to engage in the Colombian election outside of the highly polarized and partisan politics of the campaign. Colombia is the most recent country where the Change.org Foundation opened an office, and the results are incredible with more than 1.2 million people participating in successful petitions. As a result, millions of people had their voices amplified on issues that mattered most to them.

Citizen action on the platform during the electoral period:

4,100,000
People using Change.org in Colombia

 

In 2018-19:

2,661,469
Total citizen actions on the platform

28
Decision-maker responses to petitions

80
Petitions achieved their goals

Citizen action on the platform during the electoral period:

co-chart-2

4,100,000

People using Change.org in Colombia
In 2018-19:

2,661,469

Total citizen actions on the platform

28

Decision-maker responses to petitions

80

Petitions achieved their goals
HTML5 Icon

Jonatan Rodríguez

Jonatan is the Colombia Country Director
at the Change.org Foundation.

"In what was an incredibly polarising election, we saw citizens demanding the protection of the peace process, including protection from violence against women. Thousands of Colombians took action through petitions to protect the peace process after the election. This was a really important moment for the country. It was very inspiring for our team to see the power of the Change.org platform at work."

Jonatan Rodríguez

Jonatan is the Colombia Country Director
at the Change.org Foundation.


"In what was an incredibly polarising election, we saw citizens demanding the protection of the peace process, including protection from violence against women. Thousands of Colombians took action through petitions to protect the peace process after the election. This was a really important moment for the country. It was very inspiring for our team to see the power of the Change.org platform at work."

PETITION STARTER'S VOICE

We are breaking the silence. We are speaking out to challenge the culture that has said that it's ok to look the other way.

profile

Maisa Covaleda
Founder, Fundación Maisa Covaleda, Bogotá

  
  

PETITION STARTER'S VOICE

We are breaking the silence. We are speaking out to challenge the culture that has said that it's ok to look the other way.

maria masia
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Maisa Covaleda
Founder, Fundación Maisa Covaleda, Bogotá

#RomperElSilencio - or ‘Breaking the silence’ - is a movement in Colombia demanding action on domestic violence. Maisa, who has experienced domestic abuse, put the issue on the political agenda after her Change.org petition went viral and triggered the start of the national campaign.

In the fifty years of war between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), 20,000 cases of sexual violence were reported.

A peace accord was signed in 2016, but the violence continues. In 2017 in Colombia, one woman was killed every three days and 55 cases of sexual violence are still recorded daily.

Using the Change.org Foundation decision maker tool, Maisa was able to target politicians, before and after the election, to commit to action on domestic violence at all levels of government.

#RomperElSilencio - or ‘Breaking the silence’ - is a movement in Colombia demanding action on domestic violence. Maisa, who has experienced domestic abuse, put the issue on the political agenda after her Change.org petition went viral and triggered the start of the national campaign.

In the fifty years of war between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), 20,000 cases of sexual violence were reported.

Using the Change.org Foundation decision maker tool, Maisa was able to target politicians, before and after the election, to commit to action on domestic violence at all levels of government.

Achievement
Catalyzing Movement Building

 

#RomperElSilencio demonstrates the power of a petition to become a catalyst for social mobilization. Before this movement was formed, domestic violence and gender equality had not received the attention of election candidates.

Achievement
Catalyzing Movement Building

#RomperElSilencio demonstrates the power of a petition to become a catalyst for social mobilization. Before this movement was formed, domestic violence and gender equality had not received the attention of election candidates.

In 2020, we will deepen this impact on
democracy in the Global South

We believe sustainable, positive social change can only occur when people most impacted step up to take action and create change. Citizens around the world are teaching us that people-led social movements, amplified by technology, can create transformational change at regional, national and international levels.

Will you join us?

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The Elections Report 2020 is a free work by the Change.org Foundation, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0).

Creative Commons License

You are free to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon the material in any medium or format for any purpose, even commercially, since you give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.

First publish date: Feb 5th 2020
Latest update: Feb 12th 2020

2020