Dane has worked on six continents providing strategic advice to campaigns, governments, activists, academic institutions, and NGO’s. He has also consulted on projects with the United Nations, the U.S. Department of State and the International Republican Institute. He was a political appointee in President George H. W. Bush’s administration, served as the Political Director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund and the Humane Society of the United States and was the National Field Director for U.S. Term Limits. Dane has worked on five presidential campaigns and numerous other candidate elections in the U.S. as well as presidential and prime ministerial campaigns around the world. Dane has worked on over 60 ballot campaigns and is one of the few people who has worked on all aspects of direct democracy campaigns – from helping governments draft the laws that will govern the election, to helping win or defeat an issue on the ballot, to providing international observers to ensure that a referendum election meets internationally accepted norms.
Dane is the founder and Chair of the Initiative & Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California – a non-profit non-partisan research and educational organization established to study direct democracy. He is the co-founder of the Initiative & Referendum Institute Europe and the Initiative & Referendum Institute Asia.
Dane has also been active in political reform efforts serving as a member of the Harvard Appleseed Electoral Reform Project and as a board member of the Citizens in Charge Foundation. He also serves on the board of Democracy International, an organization that works to strengthen direct democracy opportunities around the world.
Dane was honored to have been asked to help plan and execute the memorial service held on October 28, 2001 at Ground Zero for the families of those lost.
Dane has authored and edited numerous articles and books on direct democracy and has provided commentary on governance issues to newspapers, radio talk shows, and television stations around the world. He consulted on the television shows West Wing and the Weakest Link. He was a regular political columnist for Campaigns & Elections Magazine and currently writes a blog called This is the Point.
Dane has been a lifelong lover of architecture and through his company, M. Dane Waters Custom Homes has designed and built several award-winning homes.
Dane is also very active in animal welfare issues, especially the protection of elephants, and is the founder of The Elephant Project. He does a regular blog and podcast on elephant issues which can be accessed by visiting The Elephant Times.
Dane’s focus throughout life has been to find the tipping point - that one moment when something tips to no longer what it could have been but becomes what it can be. It is a journey filled with tipping points and it is a journey with no end.