2016 Platform: Political Reform

California Democrats believe that a healthy democracy is based on free and fair elections: public financing of political campaigns at all levels of government, campaign spending limits and full disclosure of political spending, restoration of the fairness doctrine and a strong role for political parties. We will fight the culture of corruption, cronyism and incompetence in politics that has inflicted a great cost upon the American people. We demand open and fraud-free elections and incontrovertible government accountability to the electorate. We will ensure that all eligible voters can vote, that all votes are counted as cast and can be verified by the voter. We support public ownership of all election processes, software and equipment. We will insist that officeholders respond honestly and effectively to constituent needs through transparent and open public service.

To promote honest leadership and open government, California Democrats will:

  • Enhance the democratic process by ensuring an educated citizenry, equal opportunity for influence, honest public debate, competitive elections and robust civic participation;
  • Support and implement legislation for Clean Money full public financing of election campaigns at the local, state and federal levels;
  • Support and implement full disclosure of funding sources for political advertisements, including the largest major funders of all political television, radio, print, slate mailer, and online advertising for ballot measures, independent expenditures, and issue advocacy, in a way that clearly and unambiguously identifies the largest major donor(s);
  • Increase voter participation by advocating for extended voting hours and/or days, scheduling elections on weekends, or by declaring Election Day a holiday;
  • Investigate and prosecute any and all forms of voter intimidation;
  • Demand transparency at every stage with voting system software (including open-source software); national standards for electronic voting machine certification; external, non-partisan certifying groups that publicly disclose testing results; reliable voter-verifiable systems with a paper ballot as the ballot of record; robust auditing procedures that include absentee ballots; updated and thorough recount procedures;
  • Support candidates who pledge full accountability to the electorate and hold them to that pledge, including regular reports, in person, to the members of the DSCC and their constituents in their home districts;
  • Encourage, where feasible, instant run-off elections, especially in primaries;
  • Encourage no concessions by candidates until all ballots are counted;
  • Work to overturn, by Constitutional Amendment if necessary, the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission that allows corporations to give unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns, and to clarify that corporations are not persons and constitutional rights are for natural persons only, and to end the doctrine that money is speech;
  • Demand transparency and implementation of accountability measures for all special districts, statewide commissions, and governing boards;
  • Support and defend voter protection under the federal Voting Rights Act and the California Voting Rights Act. This includes supporting voter outreach and education efforts, especially for youth and underserved communities and the Voting Rights Act provisions requiring federal pre-clearance for changes to local and state voting laws and policies that were deemed outdated by the Supreme court in Shelby V. Holder in 2013.
  • Urge all states to join the inter-state compact, which will award Electoral College votes to the Presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes nationwide, in order to make all states important to the candidates and in order to prevent the Presidency from being stolen by the award of Electoral College votes district-by-district in gerrymandered states; and
  • Demand the establishment of polling sites in tribal communities with large populations on reservations and surrounding areas including urban Native American Communities.
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