Page 24 - Soundwave Magazine
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 LEGISLATIVE UPDATE:
ON CAPITOL HILL (CONT’D)
  without a full reversal of Citizens United soon, there are policy solutions to help combat the dominance of big money in politics and the lack of transparency in the U.S. campaign finance system.
First, publicly funded elections would help counter the influence of the extremely wealthy by empowering small donors. Specifically, a system that matches small-dollar donations with public funds would expand the role of small donors and help candidates rely less on big checks and special interests. In recent years, public financing has gained support across the United States. As of 2018, 24 municipalities and 14 states have enacted some form of public financing, and at least 124 winning congressional candidates voiced support for public financing during the 2018 midterm election cycle.
Lawmakers on the national, state, and local level can also push to increase transparency in election spending. For example, the DISCLOSE Act, which has been introduced several times in Congress, would strengthen disclosure and disclaimer require-
ments, enabling voters to know who is trying to influence their votes. Congress could also pass stricter rules to prevent super PACs and other outside groups from coordinating directly with campaigns and political parties. Fixing the U.S. elections system will also require fixing the FEC.
Long dysfunctional thanks to partisan gridlock, the FEC is out of touch with today’s election landscape and has failed to update campaign finance safeguards to reflect current challenges. For example, FEC rules do not even include the term “super PAC,” and it has declined to find violations or even open an investigation into high-profile allegations of coordination. The agency’s failure to enforce federal disclosure laws helped allow dark money to pour into U.S. federal elections since 2010.
In an April 2019 report, the Brennan Center outlined a number of structural reforms that Congress can pursue to help tackle dysfunction in the FEC.
Finally, addressing the impacts of Citizens United requires building a movement in favor of campaign finance reform. There’s public support for such reforms. In recent polls, 94 percent of Americans blamed wealthy political donors for political dysfunction, and 77 percent of registered voters said that “reducing the influence of special interests and corruption in Washington” was either the “single most” or a “very important” factor in deciding their vote for Congress.
Citizens United was a blow to democracy — but it doesn’t have to be the final word. Politicians can listen to what most of the public
wants, even if big donors don’t like it.
How to Fight Voter Suppression Nationwide
December 9, 2019. In early December, the House of Representatives showed the country that it will not tolerate racial discrimination at the polls. It passed the Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill that would restore the 1965 Voting Rights Act to its full strength. Our country needs that reform and others to make the 2020 election free and fair for all.
Since its founding, America has moved slowly towards granting suffrage to more and more Americans, bringing more people into the electoral process. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been instrumental to that progress. But in 2013 the Supreme Court dramatically weakened that law.
In Shelby County v. Holder, the court disabled the act’s provision that required states and localities with histories of racial discrimination in voting to “pre-clear” new voting regulations.
The pre-clearance system had allowed federal authorities to vet proposed voting rules for racial discrimination before they could cause injury. From 1965 right up until the Shelby decision, this safeguard blocked many restrictions that would have made it more difficult for Black and Brown people to participate and vote.
Starting around 2010, states across the country had already introduced legislation that would put unneces- sary barriers in front of the ballot box, particularly for voters of color. Some states with early voting reduced the number of days of advance access to the polls. Others required forms of identification to vote that lawmakers
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