WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, a coalition of more than 100 democracy, environmental, religion, good government, civil rights, and other groups from the Declaration of American Democracy coalition signed an open letter that was sent to all 2020 presidential candidates urging them to make comprehensive democracy reform an integral part of their campaign platforms. You can view the letter here.
“The next president of the United States must stand with Americans across the country and commit to building a comprehensive democracy platform that returns power to the people,” said Lisa Gilbert, spokesperson for Declaration for American Democracy. “It is essential that the next president is committed to making sure every voter can cast a ballot free from barriers, ending the dominance of big money in politics, and curbing the culture of corruption in Washington, D.C. We must fix our broken political system before we can effectively address the challenges Americans face.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the For the People Act, a groundbreaking democracy reform package that will fix our broken political system and curb the culture of corruption. The entire Senate Democratic Caucus introduced a Senate companion bill, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, backed by Senate Republicans, said he won’t allow the bill to come to the floor.
Poll after poll has shown that Americans of all political affiliations are looking for fundamental changes in our democratic process and it is incumbent upon these candidates to listen to the will of the voters. Below is a list of reforms that we urged all candidates – Democrat and Republican – to campaign on and ultimately make policy priorities once in office:
- Expand the right to vote and make it an easier, more inclusive process. This entails implementing automatic registration and same day registration nationwide, requiring early voting and simplifying absentee voting, improving access to polling stations, restoring former voting rights to former felons, and allocating more funding for election security.
- The executive and legislative branches must operate under stronger, more enforceable ethics laws. The next president should endorse, prioritize, and work with Congress to pass legislation that strengthens and expands federal ethics rules.
- End the dominance of big money in our political system. This means setting limits on campaign contributions, empowering and incentivizing small-dollar fundraising, and strengthening oversight of our campaign finance rules.
- Create more transparency over campaign finance donations and federal influence. This includes mandating disclosure of corporate spending in our elections, more stringent disclosure requirements for politically-active nonprofit groups, more information about online advertising, and easy access to federal ethics and financial disclosure forms.
- Limit the revolving door and create stronger guidelines for the Washington influence industry. This includes policies that expand the cooling-off period for members of Congress and federal officials to become lobbyists, limiting the role played by lobbyists in campaigns, expanding the definition of lobbyist to eliminate loopholes, and preventing federal officials from profiting off their public service.
- Strengthen the checks and balances system to protect against bad actors. Implementing policies that ensure the president does not abuse the powers of government to settle political scores or place themselves or their friends and family above the law.