PROTECT VOTING RIGHTS, FIX OUR CAMPAIGN FINANCE SYSTEM, AND RESTORE OUR DEMOCRACY
Democrats know that Americans’ right to vote is sacred and fundamental. We believe that we must protect Americans’ right to vote, while stopping corporations’ outsized influence in elections. We must rectify the Supreme Court decision gutting the Voting Rights Act, which is a profound injustice. We will stop efforts by Republican governors and legislatures to disenfranchise people of color, low-income people, and young people, and prevent these voters from exercising their right to vote through onerous restrictions. We will ensure that election officials comply with voting protections, including provisions mandating bilingual materials and voter assistance. And we will fight to reform our broken campaign finance system, which gives outsized influence to billionaires and big corporations. It’s time we give back control of our elections to those to whom it belongs—the American people.
Protecting Voting Rights
The Democratic Party was founded on the promise of an expanded democracy. The right to vote is at the heart of our national vision. It is a core principle of the Democratic Party to maximize voter participation for all Americans. Our democracy suffers when nearly two thirds of our citizens do not or cannot participate, as in the last midterm elections. Democrats believe we must make it easier to vote, not harder.
We must restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. We will bring our democracy into the 21st century by expanding early voting and vote-by-mail, implementing universal automatic voter registration and same day voter registration, ending partisan and racial gerrymandering, and making Election Day a national holiday. We will restore voting rights for those who have served their sentences. And we will continue to fight against discriminatory voter identification laws, which disproportionately burden young voters, diverse communities, people of color, low-income families, people with disabilities, the elderly, and women.
We support fully funding the Help America Vote Act and will work to fulfill the promise of election reform, including fighting to end long lines at voting booths and ensuring that all registration materials, voting materials, polling places, and voting machines are truly accessible to seniors, Americans with disabilities, and citizens with limited English proficiency. We will support local, county, and state governments in their efforts to upgrade old voting equipment and machines with modern systems, including voter-verified paper ballots, to ensure that all voters are able to exercise this sacred right in the quickest, most convenient, secure and accurate manner possible.
Republicans have enacted various voter suppression tactics from Ohio to Florida, and even though some federal courts have already found that these measures go too far, Democrats will continue to fight these laws to preserve the fundamental right to vote. We support efforts to defeat ill-motivated voter suppression tactics. We also support Ohio’s proposed Voters Bill of Rights amendment, North Carolina’s Moral Monday movement, and similar initiatives to permanently safeguard this inalienable right.
Fixing Our Broken Campaign Finance System
Democrats believe we must fight to preserve the essence of the longest standing democracy in the world: a government that represents the American people, not just a handful of powerful and wealthy special interests. We will fight for real campaign finance reform now. Big money is drowning out the voices of everyday Americans, and we must have the necessary tools to fight back and safeguard our electoral and political integrity.
Democrats support a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo. We need to end secret, unaccountable money in politics by requiring, through executive order or legislation, significantly more disclosure and transparency—by outside groups, federal contractors, and public corporations to their shareholders. We need to amplify the voices of the American people through a small donor matching public financing system. We need to overhaul and strengthen the Federal Election Commission so that there is real enforcement of campaign finance laws. And we need to fight to eliminate super PACs and outside spending abuses.
Our vision for American democracy is a nation in which all people, regardless of their income, can participate in the political process and can run for office without needing to depend on large contributions from the wealthy and the powerful.
We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion, curb billionaires’ influence over elections because they understand that Citizens United has fundamentally damaged our democracy, and believe the Constitution protects not only the powerful, but also the disadvantaged and powerless.
Securing Statehood for Washington, DC
Restoring our democracy also means finally passing statehood for the District of Columbia, so that the American citizens who reside in the nation’s capital have full and equal congressional rights as well as the right to have the laws and budget of their local government respected without Congressional interference.
Strengthening Management of Federal Government
Democrats understand responsible fiscal stewardship is key to American democracy and to the country’s long-term economic prosperity. We believe that by making those at the top and the largest corporations pay their fair share we can pay for ambitious progressive investments that create good-paying jobs and offer security to working families without adding to the debt. This stands in contrast to Donald Trump, whose plans could add more than $30 trillion to the debt and who casually suggests defaulting on America’s debt, ending more than 200 years in which the full faith and credit of the United States has been sacrosanct.
We will also ensure that new spending and tax cuts are offset so that they do not add to the nation’s debt over time. We will tackle waste, fraud, and abuse to make sure government dollars are spent wisely and efficiently. Democrats believe that we should not be contracting, outsourcing, or privatizing work that is inherently governmental in nature, including postal services, school services, and state and local government services. We are committed to a strong, effective, accountable civil service, delivering the quality public services Americans have every right to expect.
Democrats believe that, in general, the most effective way to identify problems facing our country and develop good solutions is by enacting evidence-based public policy. We recognize the value of data in allowing us to count and carefully consider the needs of different communities. That is why we will preserve and enhance the integrity and accuracy of the census and the American Community Survey (ACS). We will equip the Census Bureau with the resources needed to prepare for and conduct a cost effective, complete and accurate census, as well as improve counting segments of the population that are historically and persistently undercounted, specifically communities of color, immigrants, LGBT people, young children, those with disabilities, and rural and low-income populations. We will also maintain the legal requirement for the public to participate and be counted.
Democrats also believe that government services should be culturally and linguistically appropriate and that data should be disaggregated for those communities, like Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, where it is necessary to fully understand and address their needs.
Finally, Democrats will make government simpler and more user-friendly. The federal government too often operates with websites designed from another era that are too complicated, too hard to use, and rarely designed for mobile phones or tablets. We will build on the creation of the United States Digital Service (USDS) and give it the resources it needs to transform and digitize the top 25 federal government programs that directly serve citizens. We will eliminate internal barriers to government modernization. And we will use technology to improve outcomes and government accountability by embracing prioritized goal setting and performance tracking for the federal government.