The Jill Stein campaign initiated a recount on behalf of hundreds of thousands of concerned voters, bringing election integrity into the national spotlight. But ensuring that votes are counted is just the tip of the iceberg, when the entire US political system is rigged to prevent the people from taking power away from the ruling elite. To bring real democracy to America, we need a broad movement for voting justice.
For years, the Green Party has been on the front lines of the fight for voting justice. The Stein/Baraka campaign calls for Americans of all political backgrounds to unite behind key principles of voting justice, including:
1. Election integrity
We need a voting system we can trust. There are too many questions about whether elections can be rigged to thwart the will of the people. The only way to ensure our elections can be trusted is by using hand-counted paper ballots, with routine post-election audits to detect and investigate any potential problems.
2. End voter suppression
Under the false pretense of fighting practically nonexistent “voter fraud”, partisan operatives have launched voter suppression schemes targeted primarily at preventing people of color from voting. This “New Jim Crow” assault includes the Interstate Crosscheck program used to strip millions of people from the voting rolls in 2016. Voter suppression programs like voter ID also disproportionately affect young and low-income people as well as people of color.
3. Voting rights
The United States puts up more barriers to voting than almost any other modern democracy, because ruling elites don’t want more people voting. To protect voters from disenfranchisement, we need to enforce and expand the Constitutional right to vote (including a new amendment if necessary). We must end voter suppression, stop new obstacles to voting, and instead protect voting rights for all with reforms like universal voter registration, restoring voting rights to felons, and a national Election Day holiday.
4. Voter choice
The obsolete US voting system has produced a two-party tyranny where voters are told they have no choice but to vote for “lesser evil” out of fear. Ranked Choice Voting would end fear-based voting and free all Americans to vote for the candidates they truly believe in. For legislative elections, proportional representation would result in a much more responsive and accountable government that would truly represent every voter. We need ranked choice voting and proportional representation to make every vote count and bring real democracy to America.
5. One person, one vote
Replace the obsolete, elitist Electoral College with direct election of the President via national popular vote using ranked choice voting.
6. Remove barriers to running for office
Voters’ rights are meaningless without the right to run for office, yet many states have discriminatory laws that make it as difficult as possible for regular people to run for office unless they are backed by party bosses or wealthy elites. We must repeal unreasonable, anti-democratic barriers to getting on the ballot and other laws designed to prevent political competition for the establishment parties.
7. Rights for people, not corporations
Eliminate the doctrine of corporate personhood that has been used to justify unlimited corporate spending in elections with a constitutional amendment to clarify that only human beings have constitutional rights.
8. Get big money out of politics, get people back in
Over 90% of elections are won by the candidate who raises and spends the most money. We need full public financing of elections to eliminate the corrupting influence of big money, and level the playing field for candidates who don’t take bribe money from corporate elites.
9. Open debates and free public airtime for candidates
Most political debates, including the presidential debates, are controlled by the corporate political establishment to keep their competition from being heard. Until all candidates who have qualified for the ballot are included in debates, we do not live in a democracy. We need a Citizens’ Debate Commission to fight for open debates. We should also provide free public airtime for candidates to communicate their message to the public.
10. Representation for all
The US is one of the only democracies to deny a voice in government to large numbers of people under its rule, particularly in the District of Columbia and colonial territories like Puerto Rico. These disenfranchised areas are populated predominantly by people of color. We need immediate statehood for the District of Columbia and self-determination for Puerto Rico and other colonial territories still under US rule.
11. End partisan election oversight
Our elections should be managed not by partisan officials with a vested interest in the result, but by independent officials who are accountable only to the voting public. Elections should be run by independent, non-partisan election commissions.
12. Abolish gerrymandering
The widespread practice of gerrymandering, where politicians intentionally manipulate voting districts, has made a mockery of our democracy by promoting hyper-partisanship and removing the accountability that comes with competitive elections. We must replace partisan redistricting with independent redistricting commissions to end the corrupt practice of gerrymandering.