Public, Society Benefit

Equal Citizens Foundation

Fix Democracy First

aka Equal Citizens

Washington, DC


Founded by Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, Equal Citizens has one simple but incredibly important mission: to fix democracy by establishing truly equal citizenship. From the Electoral College, to gerrymandering, money in politics and voter suppression—our government cannot adequately take on any major challenges facing us until we end these corruptions in our democracy. Equal Citizens runs innovative litigation and grassroots advocacy projects across the country to accomplish this goal.

Ruling Year



Law Lessig

Main Address

1032 15th St NW Suite 239

Washington, DC 20005 USA


Democracy, advocacy, litigation, public interest





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (W01)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Social Media


Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

The core failure of American democracy is that it does not represent citizens equally. From (1) the way we elect our president, to (2) the way we fund campaigns, to (3) the way we allow participation to be suppressed, to (4) the way districts are gerrymandered: we have evolved a representative democracy that does not represent equally.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Equal Votes

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of Facebook followers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Number of people on the organization's email list

This metric is no longer tracked.
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Number of stories successfully placed in the media

This metric is no longer tracked.
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Equal Citizens Foundation (ECF) conducts litigation, public education, and research to promote equal political rights and reform institutions that currently defeat that equality. We aim to orient the present anger about our government felt by citizens from across the political spectrum towards this inequality, and build recognition of the urgent need to address these systemic flaws in order to restore our democracy.

Equal Citizens will make this legal fact of unequal representation in our democracy politically salient. Through a series of interventions that both demonstrate this inequality and work to fix it, we will engage within each of these four areas, recruiting citizens motivated by the injustice of each. Once within our tent, we then work to spread recognition among our followers about the connections among these four flaws, so as to recruit them to fight this more general inequality. ECF’s current litigation projects focus on problem areas (1) and (2): (1) Fixing our presidential election system a. Litigation challenging winner-take-all in the Electoral College (the Equal Votes project) b. Litigation resolving the constitutional freedom of electors (the Electors Freedom project) (2) Fixing our campaign finance system with a litigation to end super PACs (the End Super PACs project)

ECF’s President Lawrence Lessig directs the litigation strategy for all three projects. Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School. Prior to rejoining the Harvard faculty, Professor Lessig was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. ECF’s litigation director Jason Harrow executes the litigation plan and coordinates with outside counsels who are working on our litigation projects. Mr. Harrow is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where he won the Ames Moot Court Competition and was the President of Harvard Law's chapter of the American Constitution Society. He was previously an assistant solicitor general in the Office of the New York Attorney General, and he has argued 15 appeals.

Our success will be measured by the extent to which our litigation can help build a community that recognizes the imperative of achieving political equality. We will recruit that community initially through litigation. Our aim ultimately is to leverage that understanding to a broader understanding of political reform.

The three litigation projects are currently being processed in different levels of the federal court system. Equal Votes Plaintiffs in the four Equal Votes cases will have answered motions to dismiss in each of the four jurisdictions by the end of July 2018. We are hopeful for a quick resolution in the district courts, so we can move the case to the courts of appeals. Electors Freedom As of July 2018, we have appealed the administrative determination affirming the fine against the WA State electors, and are now on emergency appeal to the WA State Supreme Court. In CO, the District Court has granted a motion by the state to dismiss. We are currently appealing that decision to the 10th Circuit. End Super PACs In February 2018, we filed a complaint on behalf of three Alaska citizens, charging that election commission failed to enforce its super PAC law against two Alaskan super PACs. The commission rejected our complaint citing SpeechNow. That determination is currently under review.

External Reviews


We do not have digitized financial information from the IRS for this organization. The information displayed below is self-reported by the organization.

Need more info on this nonprofit?

Need more info on this nonprofit?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable