2018 Platform: Political Reform

California Democrats believe that a healthy democracy is based on free and fair elections, with all eligible voters able to participate.  We oppose the culture of cronyism and corruption and support public financing of elections. We demand transparency and accountability from both our party and government.

 

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

  • Actively work for an educated citizenry, equal opportunity for influence, honest public debate, competitive elections, and robust civic participation in order to enhance the democratic process;
  • Support and encourage the implementation legislation for full public financing of election campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels;
  • Support and encourage the implementation of full disclosure of all funding sources for political advertisements;
  • Work for increased voter participation by advocating for extended voting hours and/or days, scheduling elections on weekends, and by declaring Election Day a holiday;
  • Investigate and prosecute any and all forms of voter intimidation and election fraud, including misuse of social media to purposely mislead voters;
  • Demand transparency in voting: transparent voting system software (encourage the use of open-source software or at least disclosed-source); national and California standards for electronic voting machine certification; external, non-partisan, NIST-level certifying groups that publicly disclose testing results; reliable voter-verifiable systems with a paper ballot as the ballot of record; robust auditing procedures, such as risk-limiting audits of all types of ballots cast, including vote-by-mail ballots and validated provisional ballots; and updated and thorough chain-of-custody and recount procedures;
  • Encourage a ban on any and all forms of Internet or wireless voting, and prohibition of any connection between the Internet and any component of any election, vote-counting, or tabulating system;
  • Demand accessibility and accountability from candidates and elected officials, including regular in-person reports to DSCC members and their home district constituents;
  • Support the ability of local communities to choose alternative voting systems, such as ranked-choice voting and instant-runoff voting;
  • Encourage no concessions by candidates until the majority of ballots are counted and the outcome of the election is statistically impossible to overcome;
  • End the doctrine of corporate persons and the idea that money is speech by actively working to overturn the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission;
  • Demand transparency and implementation of accountability measures for all levels of the government and the Democratic Party; including federal, state, and local governments;
  • Support and defend voter protection under the federal Voting Rights Act and the California Voting Rights Act, including supporting voter outreach and education efforts, especially for youth and underserved communities, and working to restore 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 2013 in Shelby v. Holder;
  • Demand abolishing the Electoral College and support its replacement with a national popular vote;
  • Encourage the placement of polling sites in tribal communities with large populations on reservations and surrounding areas including urban Native American Communities;
  • Demand the end of “pay-to-play” politics by banning lobbyists from bundling sizable campaign donations, and work to close the “revolving door” of legislator to lobbyist politics; and,
  • Encourage the replacement of at-large election methods with the adoption of by-district and/or alternative voting methods, such as ranked choice voting, cumulative voting, or limited voting for city, school, and special district elections to ensure that the votes of diverse communities are not diluted and to ensure that grassroots candidates can compete without needing to raise prohibitively large sums of money.
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