Political reform presents a list of items that all should support. Among these are such things as public financing of elections and identification of the top level funders of political ads.
by Herb Engstrom
California Democrats believe that a healthy democracy is based on clean, fair elections whose integrity and accuracy merit the full confidence of the voters. We will work for public financing of political campaigns at all levels of government, campaign-spending limits, fair and impartial redistricting, and fair access to media. We will insist that officeholders respond honestly and effectively to constituent needs through transparent and open public service. 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 support public ownership of all election processes, software and equipment. We will ensure that all eligible voters can vote, that every voter can verify their vote, and that every vote is counted as cast, exactly as the voter intended.
To promote honest leadership and open and effective government, California Democrats should:
- Support changes to the California Constitution to enable all legislative actions on revenue and budget to be determined by a simple majority vote;
- Support a reform of California Proposition 13 to allow for split rolls and ensure that businesses contribute a fair share;
- Support the repeal of California Proposition 8 to allow gay marriage;
- Support changes to the California Constitution in order to reform the ballot initiative process and discourage ballot box budgeting;
- Support a relaxation of term limit laws in order to improve the effectiveness of the State Senate and Assembly with more experienced legislators;
- Enhance the democratic process by ensuring that we have an educated citizenry, equal opportunity for influence, honest public debate, competitive elections and robust civic participation;
- Support and implement public financing of elections at the local, state and federal levels, to eliminate the corrupting influence of commercial motive and corporate cash from the electoral process;
- Uphold the Voting Rights Act and its implementation in letter, spirit and practice, and improve voter outreach and education efforts, especially for youth and underserved communities;
- Increase voter participation by advocating extended voting hours, scheduling elections on weekends, or by declaring Election Day a holiday;
- Request that the issuance or renewal of California driver licenses to U.S. citizens triggers their automatic addition or update to voter registration records, unless they specifically opt out;
- Investigate and prosecute any and all forms of voter intimidation, including improper solicitation of documentation;
- Demand public verification of all electoral results by insisting on voter-marked, voter-verified paper ballots as the ballot of record. Promote voting system transparency at every stage of the electoral process by counting the votes securely in each local precinct on Election Day, and by advocating public ownership of all voting systems and software, and the exclusive use of open source software, if software is used at all. Call for mandatory federal certification of any computerized voting system, tested to national-security standards for accuracy, reliability, and security, with mandatory public disclosure of certification testing results. Demand a ban on any and all forms of Internet voting, and prohibition of any connection between the Internet and any component of any election, vote-counting, or tabulating system. Insist on robust, mandatory auditing procedures, inclusive of absentee ballots. Require updated and thorough recount procedures;
- Support candidates who pledge full accountability to the electorate, and hold them to that pledge; request regular reports, in person, to the members of the California Democratic Party and their constituents in their home districts;
- Promote, where feasible, instant run-off elections, or other form of preferential voting, especially in primaries; and
- Recommend as a pledge of candidacy, adherence to a Democratic Party policy that no election be conceded by any Party candidate unless and until all ballots cast are counted.
- Pass the DISCLOSE Act requiring the actual, top level funders of political ads to identify themselves.