Creating Real Democracy

We joined the political revolution of 2016 to create a future to believe in; a future in which we take on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaire class, and win; a future in which we produce jobs, raise wages, protect the environment, and provide healthcare for all.  But we will not realize this future until we create a system of influence that renders elected officials directly and exclusively accountable to the people as equal citizens. A truly representative democracy requires the assurance of an equal right to vote, equal representation, and elections funded by the people.

All citizens deserve equal access to the ballot.    

We call for the restoration of the protections against voting discrimination that were struck down by the US Supreme Court in its Shelby County v. Holder decision through the passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 – HR 2867 and S 1659 and the Voter Empowerment Act of 2015 – HR 12.

We call for nationwide automatic voter registration. We call for the expansion of early voting and the designation of election days (including primary days) as state or national holidays.

We call for national legislation to guarantee that every voter’s ballot will be counted. This legislation will ensure that every voting precinct is adequately staffed with sufficiently trained personnel and that every ballot, including provisional ballots, are counted. Voter-marked, trackable paper ballots for all voting must be required. Results of machine counted ballots must be verified by a complete hand count. Hand counts of ballots should be done by representatives of all parties, in public, and videotaped. All ballots must be preserved for a period of time after the election and be open to public scrutiny.

If electronic voting machines are used, standards for secure and verifiable open-source voting machine architecture and software should be developed and adopted by all states. We must also insure that independent election observers are given full access to monitor all elections.

Currently, independent parties and candidates face a host of barriers designed to limit voter choice and voice. Ballot access laws and debates rules specifically designed to exclude independent party candidates discourage participation and undermine the legitimacy of our elections. We call for national legislation to end prohibitive ballot access requirements, and replace the partisan Commission on Presidential Debates with a non-partisan Citizens Debate Commission.

All citizens deserve equal representation.

We call for congressional action to give each voter as close to equal political influence as possible through passage of FairVote’s Fair Representation Act. The Fair Representation Act will require congressional elections to be conducted by ranked choice voting in multi-winner districts drawn by independent redistricting commissions. Ranked choice voting will be used for all primary and general elections, and all states with more than five House seats will create fairly drawn multi-winner districts, while smaller states will elect their delegations at-large. Voters can freely vote for their favorites. Replacing winner-take-all elections with an American form of proportional representation ensures every election will be competitive, ending one-party representation in every corner of nearly every state.  Women and people of color will be more fairly represented.

We support implementing ranked choice voting for mayor, governor, president and other single-winner elections so that the people can have real choices and never have to accept the lesser of two evils. Ranked choice voting is a proven system where voters can support their favorite candidate without fear they are helping a candidate they don’t like. All 1st choices are counted, and the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. If a voter’s 1st choice candidate is eliminated, their vote instantly goes to their next choice. Candidates with the fewest votes are eliminated until there are two candidates left. Just like in a runoff election, the candidate with a majority of votes in the final round wins.

We call for all party primaries to be open to all voters.

It is also time to end the disenfranchisement of the over half million Americans who reside in the District of Columbia. DC residents deserve the same political rights enjoyed by citizens of our nation’s fifty states, namely full voting representation in both houses of the US Congress, as well as legislative, budgetary, and judicial sovereignty. Washington DC is the only existing majority African American federal jurisdiction, and thus, the denial of DC voting rights is inherently racist. The denial of DC voting rights cannot be defended on the basis of population size; the majority white State of Wyoming has a smaller population. We support granting statehood to the District of Columbia.

All citizens deserve an equal ability to choose our leaders.

We call for a constitutional amendment to abolish the illegitimate, court-created legal doctrines of “corporate constitutional rights” and “money as speech.” We think the best proposal is the We the People Amendment – HJR 48.  Until we have an amendment, we support Congressional action to accurately define what constitutes “coordination” between campaigns and superPACs.

We call for legislative remedies to end pay-to-play politics by changing the way we fund political campaigns. We support the creation of democracy vouchers – offering every voter a small voucher they can use to make a political donation with no out-of-pocket expense. We support the creation of small donor tax credits and public matching funds for candidates who agree to fundraise solely from small donors. These provisions are outlined in the Government By the People Act – HR 20.

In order for voters to evaluate the full context of political advertising and to hold associated candidates accountable, it is imperative we require groups airing election ads to disclose where they got their money. Corporations, unions, super PACs, and other secretive nonprofits should report within 24 hours of making a significant campaign expenditure and the names of donors to the organization should be made public. This would be required by the Disclose Act – HR 430.

We call for reform of the dysfunctional Federal Election Commission as outlined in the Federal Election Administration Act of 2016 – S 2611, replacing the six member commission with a new five member panel in which no more than two members are affiliated with the same political party.

We support effective new limits to restrict the revolving door between government service and work as a lobbyist such as the lifetime ban on lobbying by former members of Congress as outlined in HR 929. We encourage plans that would prohibit politicians from fundraising during working hours, make it illegal for politicians to take money from lobbyists, ban lobbyist bundling, and strengthen the definition of lobbying, calling all who lobby for a living lobbyists.

Accomplishing all this will not be easy, but is essential. It is essential to achieving the truly representative democracy, the republic, the founders would expect of us today. And it is essential to realizing the future we joined the political revolution to create.

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Shana, “Money out, people in” sounds good to me. I’ll put that in the edit.
Steven, isn’t the hyperlink in the We the People amendment sufficient?
And I’ll look at cutting down the intro.

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Thanks, Elizabeth.   This is well written and covers the issues that most concern me.   

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How do I upload a Word Doc to this?

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Formatting makes this hard to read.  Going to copy to Word and give it paragraph breaks and then will return with any comments – Steve

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I love that this document advocates for “voter marked trackable paper ballots” (3rd paragraph 2nd section). Maybe another sentence that reiterates that concept or explains it further would help to draw more attention to it (even though I’m not a fan of wordiness). I love that you are calling for Ranked Choice Voting. I love that whole section. I’d love it disenfranchised voters in US territories could be included in the “Equal Representation” section. Last section, second paragraph, maybe it would be efficient to use the term “Citizens United” when describing the court decision in the first line of that paragraph.

On format, it would be nice if main ideas could be in bold print so that they could be easily located when skimming the document. Bullett points or sub headings also help to draw attention to important topics and make the document more user friendly. Just some thoughts. Sorry for my wordiness!

 

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Ok looked it over.  The beginning – what I will refer to as the preamble – could be shortenedsome I believe.

I liked the bolded headings. 

Not sure about support for specific amendment proposal We The People Amendment HJR 48  unless we recite language of that amendment. It’s not too long so I don’t see why we can’t do that.

Would add a call supporting that all party primaries be open to independent voters.

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Pelegok9 – Tying SSN to ballot in an un-encrypted way enables vote-selling. 

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Can we call this something like “Money out, people in” ? Just thinking the name of the plank should be a bit more descriptive. Great work!

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Linda_stlouis – PR and other US territories would need to be granted statehood to get federal voting rights and representation in congress. Right now they can only vote in the primaries because the parties decided they could. They can’t vote in the general, that’s probably why participation and organization are so low.

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I believe ALL individuals who are of legal voting age should have the right to vote. I believe the only people who should be disqualified from voting are those found to be guilty of committing voter fraud. If the qualifications for running for President do not exempt those incarcerated or convicted of felonies then anyone who is a citizen of the United States and is of legal age should also have the right to vote. Vermont does not disenfranchise those incarcerated and I believe there are a few other states as well. That should be the way it is across the country.

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