The NCSL Blog


By Saige Draeger

Each year, Sept. 15 marks the International Day of Democracy, which celebrates democratic principles and practice around the world.

Street protest; credit United NationsCreated in 2007 by the United Nations, the International Day of Democracy promotes democratic governance among UN Charter nations and the human rights conferred under democratic systems, such as power, full participation and personal agency.

Last year’s theme, “Covid-19: A Spotlight on Democracy,” focused on the political, social and legal challenges presented by the pandemic and outlined the need for states to strengthen democratic values in the face of future crises.

Let us commit to safeguarding the principles of equality, participation and solidarity, so that we can better weather the storm of future crises.” -António Guterres, UN secretary-general

While this year’s iteration does not have a formal theme, underscoring the importance of democratic resilience remains central. After a particularly turbulent year in U.S. electoral politics, bitter divides and misinformation, this year’s celebration not only provides opportunities for the strengthening of democratic institutions, but also serves as a reminder that democracy is as much a process as a goal.

Want to learn more? Tune in at 10 a.m. ET to “Promoting Human Rights, Safeguarding Elections, Strengthening Democracy,” a roundtable discussion presented by The Carter Center and United Nations. Panelists will discuss how the promotion of human rights during the electoral cycle can safeguard elections and forge greater cooperation between the human rights and elections communities, resulting in a stronger overall democracy.

Saige Draeger is a policy associate in NCSL's Elections and Redistricting Program.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.