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KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition special: Democracy Day

A super polling place at the Encanto Recreation Center in San Diego County. Oct. 31, 2020.
Andi Dukleth
A super polling place at the Encanto Recreation Center in San Diego County. Oct. 31, 2020.

Sept. 15 marks International Day of Democracy, as designated by the United Nations. It comes at a time when democratic institutions are under threat worldwide, and with a growing sentiment that democracy is in danger.

A recent poll from Quinnipiac University found 67% of Americans believe the nation’s democracy is in danger of collapse. Another by the Economist and You Gov similarly found that nearly 66% of Americans think the country has become more politically divided since 2021.

As San Diegans prepare to vote in the 2022 midterm election, KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday featured a range of advocates of democracy to explore its fragility and its future.


League of Women Voters of San Diego

Lori Thiel, Vice President of the League of Women Voters of San Diego, talks about the organization’s century-long history of defending democracy, and why being nonpartisan remains an important piece of the organization’s century old history.

“Democracy is, by its very nature, a nonpartisan endeavor,” Thiel said.

Community Voices

A range of community voices share their thoughts on what they see as the biggest threats to democracy today. We also hear from two members of San Diego's congressional delegation, Democrats Rep. Scott Peters, and Rep. Mike Levin.


Alliance San Diego

Chris Rice Wilson, associate director of Alliance San Diego joined us to talk about barriers to voting and their efforts to making voting more accessible for San Diegans.

“Voting is more important than ever, and there are attacks on voting across the country,” Wilson said. “We really need to be doing more to inform folks of the election platform.”

First-time voters

A pair of first-time voters explain why they are voting in the coming election and what they hope to gain from the experience.

Registrar of Voters

San Diego Registrar of Voters Cynthia Paes joined Midday Edition to talk about everything voters need to know in the run up to the midterm election.

For more details and information, visit the Registrar’s website at

The future of democracy

Finally, professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the UC San Diego Emilie Hafner-Burton shared her concerns about the future of democracy, both in the United States and throughout the world.

“At the start of the 21st century, I was much more optimistic and I think the world was. The future of democracy at that point in time looked more hopeful,” Hafner-Burton said. “But today I think there is a big shadow on that hope, as we are seeing attacks on democracy as a concept, and as a set of institutions, both from within and without.”