About Us

Center for Competitive Democracy
P.O. Box 21090
Washington, DC, 20009
(202) 248-9294

Mission

The Center for Competitive Democracy was founded in 2005 to strengthen American democracy by increasing electoral competition. CCD works to identify and eliminate barriers to political participation and to secure free, open and competitive elections by fostering active civic engagement in the political process.

Board of Directors and Staff:

Theresa Amato, Director, is a lawyer with extensive experience in public policy, nonprofit management, access to information, election law and civic rights litigation. She is the founder and former executive director of the Citizen Advocacy Center, the former executive director of the Oak Park – River Forest Community Foundation, the former national campaign manager of two presidential campaigns, and a former staff litigator and director of the Freedom of Information Clearinghouse at Public Citizen Litigation Group. She has also clerked for a federal judge in Manhattan and worked in private practice in Chicago. Harvard Law School named Amato a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow in 1999, and she was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2002. She has received both the NYU Law School and Loyola University of Chicago Law School’s Public Interest Awards. Amato was graduated with honors in government and economics from Harvard/Radcliffe Colleges in 1986, and in 1989 from NYU Law School, where she was a Root-Tilden scholar, the Senior Note and Comment editor of the NYU Law Review, the recipient of the Orison S. Marden medal for first place in moot court, and the recipient of the Vanderbilt Medal. Ms. Amato is the author of Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny (New Press 2009).

John Branson, Director, is an attorney in private practice in Portland, Maine. John represents and counsels individuals and small businesses in a variety of areas, including civil and criminal litigation, appellate advocacy, civil rights, election law and ballot access proceedings. In 2008, John defended an independent U.S. Senate candidate against a ballot access challenge brought by the Maine Democratic Party, arguing the first amendment aspect of the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court with the assistance of the Center for Competitive Democracy. Prior to starting his own law firm, John was affiliated with Hogan & Hartson in Washington, D.C. and Goodwin Procter in Boston, Massachusetts. John is a 1989 graduate of Yale College, cum laude, and a 1992 graduate of Harvard Law School, cum laude. At Yale, John earned distinction in the fields of economics and political science, and received the President’s Award for Outstanding Leadership in Service to the New Haven Community. John is an active member of Maine’s peace and justice community and sits on the Steering Committee of Maine Lawyers for Democracy (“MLD”), a group formed to safeguard the health of our constitutional democracy. John took the lead in drafting MLD’s legal memorandum to Maine’s Congressional delegation concerning the grounds for impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney. In 2009, John was made an honorary lifetime member of Maine Veterans for Peace in recognition of his legal work on behalf of Maine veterans and citizens of conscience.

Basil Culyba, Director, is an attorney with the firm Kelley Drye Collier Shannon in Washington, DC. Mr. Culyba has more than 20 years of experience in complex litigation on matters involving election law, antitrust law, consumer law, class actions and intellectual property. He graduated from Rutgers University School of Law in 1978 and from Washington & Jefferson College in 1971.

Oliver Hall, Director, is founder and legal counsel to CCD. Mr. Hall graduated from Kenyon College in 1995 and Boston University School of Law in 2005. He is author of “Death by a Thousand Signatures: The Rise of Restictive Ballot Access Laws and the Decline of Electoral Competition in the United States,” published by the Seattle University Law Review, and he has also written for Counterpunch and the Philadelphia Inquirer. A member of the Massachusetts and District of Columbia Bars, Mr. Hall is also admitted to practice before the federal courts for the District of Columbia, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and North Dakota, the federal courts of appeals for the 3rd Circuit, 8th Circuit, 11th Circuit and D.C. Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Board of Advisors

John C. Bonifaz is the Legal Director of Voter Action, a national non-profit organization that engages in legal advocacy, research, and public education to ensure election integrity in the United States. Prior to joining Voter Action, John worked for more than a dozen years with the National Voting Rights Institute (NVRI), an organization he founded in 1994, which served as a prominent legal and public education center dedicated to protecting the right of all citizens to vote and to participate in the electoral process on an equal and meaningful basis. Mr. Bonifaz has been at the forefront of key voting rights battles in the country over the past dozen years, including the fight in the federal courts in Ohio for a recount of the 2004 presidential vote in that state, and a series of court challenges that helped redefine the campaign finance question as a basic voting rights issue. As Legal Director of Voter Action, Mr. Bonifaz is overseeing state-based litigation across the country challenging the continued use of electronic voting machines for the counting and recording of our votes. He is also developing new legal challenges to the overall privatization of our public election process. Mr. Bonifaz is a 1992 cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and a 1999 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Mark Brown holds the Newton D. Baker/Baker & Hostetler Chair at Capital University, where he teaches courses on Constitutional Law and Constitutional Litigation. Together with Kit Kinports, Professor Brown is author of Constitutional Litigation Under § 1983. He has also authored several articles addressing various constitutional issues, including religion, elections, parents’ rights, gender discrimination, and government’s financial liability for the wrongs it inflicts.

Dmitri Evseev is an attorney with Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, D.C., who concentrates his practice on international arbitration matters. Mr. Evseev previously served as a law clerk for the Hon. Bruce M. Selya in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Mr. Evseev received a B.A. in Political Science and a B.Phil. in Interdisciplinary Studies, summa cum laude, from Miami University in 1997 and a J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 2001, where he was Publishing Editor of the Harvard Law Review. Mr. Evseev is the author of “A Second Look at Third Parties: Correcting the Supreme Court’s Understanding of Elections,” Boston University Law Review (Volume 85), “Model Ballot Access Statute” published in the Harvard Journal on Legislation (Summer 1999), and “Housing Markets and Income Segregation” published in the Harvard Law Review (March 2001).

Ellen Katz is a professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School, where she teaches and writes in the areas of property, voting rights and elections, legal history, and equal protection. Prior to joining the Law School faculty in 1999 as an assistant professor, she practiced as an attorney with the appellate sections of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and its Civil Division. Professor Katz also served as a judicial clerk for Justice David H. Souter of the Supreme Court of the United States, and for Judge Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She earned her B.A. in history, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Yale College and her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she served as an articles editor of the Yale Law Journal. Her work includes a detailed empirical study of litigation under the Voting Rights Act as well as articles published in numerous law reviews including the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and the Michigan Law Review.

David Lyons is a professor of Law and Philosophy at Boston University. A recipient of Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, Professor Lyons is the author of seven books on moral philosophy and the nature of law and legal interpretation. Professor Lyons has been a political activist since the 1940s, and currently serves as faculty adviser to Boston University’s Peace and Justice Project.

Ian Shapiro is Sterling Professor of Political Science and Henry R. Luce Director of the Center for Area and International Studies at Yale University. A recipient of fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Carnegie Corporation, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Professor Shapiro is author of several books on political and democratic theory. Professor Shapiro has held visiting appointments at the University of Cape Town and Nuffield College, Oxford.

William P. Tedards, Jr. is an attorney with an independent national practice concentrating on complex  civil litigation involving various forms of abuse of economic power. Prior to establishing an independent practice, Mr. Tedards developed a specialty in antitrust litigation, beginning as a trial attorney with the Merger Division of the Federal Trade Commission litigating vertical and conglomerate mergers under Section 7 of the Clayton Act (Official Commendation for Superior Service, awarded by the Chairman, April 1970), followed by private practice with Breed Abbott & Morgan in New York City and Nicholson & Carter in Washington, D.C. In 1980, Mr. Tedards was a surrogate speaker for the independent presidential campaign of John Anderson, focusing in particular on the obsolescence of the Democratic/Republican duopoly, applying concepts drawn from antitrust theory (e.g., ballot access laws and TV advertising budgets as “barriers to entry,” the narrow spectrum of “competition” between the political parties, and the importance of potential competition and new entry in the stagnating “marketplace” of political thought.) Mr. Tedards received a B.A. in Economics and Political Science (1964) and an LL.B. (1967) from Washington and Lee University and is the author of Antitrust Guidelines for Conglomerate Mergers, 24 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 90 (1967). Mr. Tedards is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia and Eastern District of Michigan and the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the D.C., 2nd, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th Circuits.

Richard Wilson is professor of law and founding director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University’s Washington College of Law. A 1972 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, Professor Wilson has taught at CUNY Law School in New York City, the Oxford International Human Rights Law Program, Daito Bunka University in Tokyo, Japan, and at the Catholic University in Lima, Peru. Professor Wilson was a Fulbright Scholar in the Republic of Colombia in 1987, and authored friend-of-court briefs for the European Union in the United States Supreme Court, successfully arguing that international law prohibits capital punishment of juveniles and persons with mental retardation. He was retained by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to provide expert evidence on the existence of a norm in customary international law protecting the right to vote, and a prohibition on racially discriminatory limitations of the right to vote after conviction of a crime. He is currently at work on a book chapter on the issue of felony disenfranchisement and international law.

Richard Winger is editor of Ballot Access News and a leading expert on ballot access law. Mr. Winger holds a B.A. in political science from U.C. Berkeley and serves on the Editorial Board of the Election Law Journal. He is the author of numerous articles, including The Supreme Court and the Burial of Ballot Access: A Critical Review of Jenness v. Fortson.

Howard Zinn (1922-2010), historian, playwright and social activist, joined CCD’s Board of Advisors at its founding in 2005. Zinn was a shipyard worker and Air Force bombardier before he went to college under the G.I. Bill and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. A professor of history and political science at Spelman College and Boston University, and a visiting professor at the University of Paris and the University of Bologna, Zinn wrote more than fifteen books, including the best-selling A People’s History of the United States. His work has been translated into a dozen languages. Zinn received the Thomas Merton Award, the Eugene V. Debs Award, the Upton Sinclair Award, and the Lannan Literary Award.

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