Democratic Party on Government Reform

Party Platform


AZ mail-in restrictions violate Voting Rights Act

Arizona voting restrictions challenged as violations of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. First, voters casting their votes on Election Day outside their precinct are not counted. Second, mail-in ballots cannot be collected by anyone other than an election official, a mail carrier, or a voter's family or household member. The court held, 6-3, that these restrictions did not violate the Act nor were they racially discriminatory.

Dissenters argued that the Court's narrow reading weakened the law and disregarded its intent to address disparities in how election laws affect different racial groups. The rule discarding "out of precinct votes" impacted black and Hispanic voters, with Arizona leading the country in discarding such votes. Restrictions on vote collection makes voting more difficult for Native Americans.

President Biden said he was "deeply disappointed in today's decision by the United States Supreme Court that undercuts the Voting Rights Act."

Source: NPR commentary on 2021 SCOTUS rulings , Jul 1, 2021

Coronavirus: Make vote-by-mail universally available

Democrats will fight for emergency funding for states to make vote-by-mail universally available during the pandemic, while ensuring that all jurisdictions take steps to ensure continued meaningful, safe opportunities to vote in person. The Postal Service is a critical component to our democracy and must be supported to guarantee timely and efficient delivery and return of vote by mail ballots. Election officials must be provided with sufficient time after election day to process all ballots.
Source: Democratic Party Platform adopted at 2020 Convention , Jul 27, 2020

End partisan gerrymandering in federal elections

Gerrymandering distorts our democracy. Democrats will enact measures to end partisan gerrymandering in federal elections. Efforts to redraw legislative districts following the 2020 Census must be guided by transparency and public input, so that maps reflect the will of voters, fairly represent communities of color, and provide for competitive races. We will protect the integrity of the Census from political interference, including ensuring that redistricting be based on total population counts.
Source: Democratic Party Platform adopted at 2020 Convention , Jul 27, 2020

Make Washington, D.C. the 51st state; gain representation

It's time to stop treating the more than 700,000 people who live in our nation's capital as second-class citizens. The residents of Washington, D.C. pay more per capita in federal income taxes than any state in the country--and more in total than 22 states--and yet the District has zero voting representatives in the U.S. Congress. Democrats unequivocally support statehood for Washington, D.C., so the citizens of the District can at last have full and equal representation in Congress.
Source: Democratic Party Platform adopted at 2020 Convention , Jul 27, 2020

$2M to register 200,000 Florida non-voters

The Florida Democratic Party says it will spend $2 million in the next year to register 200,000 voters ahead of next year's presidential primary. There are currently 4.96 million registered Democrats in the state compared to 4.7 million Republicans and nearly 3.6 million voters with no party affiliation.

Trump's campaign is heavily focused on Florida, the biggest swing state in the nation, with 29 of the 270 electoral college votes needed to win. Without the Sunshine State, Trump's path to victory narrows significantly. If a Democrat can carry Florida in 2020, he or she could win the White House by capturing just one other swing state--WI, MI, OH, or PA--if the remaining states voted the way they did in 2016.

Democrats say they have identified as many as four million Floridians eligible to vote who are not registered. Florida party officials say they plan to partner with data science firms and hire dozens of full-time organizers as part of the new $2 million effort.

Source: Politico.com, "Florida," on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 20, 2019

Unity Reform Commission: reduce power of superdelegates

During the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, it became clear to me that the elitist, top-down approach of the party needed to be reformed.

The Democratic National Committee had designated 716 political insiders as superdelegates--delegates to the national convention who could support any candidate they wanted, regardless of how the people of their state had voted in their primaries or caucuses.

In other words, the Democratic leadership had created the absurd and undemocratic situation that allowed 30 percent of the votes needed for the presidential nomination to come from the party elite. In 2016, this grossly unfair situation became very apparent when Secretary Clinton received the support of some 500 superdelegates BEFORE the first popular vote was cast in the Iowa caucuses.

[The Unity Reform Commission] in December 2017 unanimously passed a resolution that would significantly reduce the power of superdelegates.

Source: Where We Go From Here, by B. Sanders, p.248-50, on 2016 DNC , Aug 25, 2018

OpEd: Voter ID reduces Dem turnout by 8% and GOP by 3%

A recent academic paper analyzing the 2014 elections found that "a strict ID law could be expected to depress Latino turnout by 9.3 points, Black turnout by 8.6 points, and Asian American turnout by 12.5 points." After analyzing the data, the scholars found that "Democratic turnout drops by an estimated 8.8 percentage points in general elections when strict photo identification laws are in place," compared with just 3.6 percentage points for Republicans.

At a time when we should be making it easier for people to vote, Republican governors and legislatures acted quickly to do the exact opposite. They restricted early voting, eliminated same-day registration, and aggressively purged voter rolls. In 2016, fifteen states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p.194 , Nov 15, 2016

Automatic voter registration; holiday for Election Day

[At the 2016 convention preparation], we were victorious in including amendments in the platform that made it the policy of the Democratic Party to fight for:
Source: Where We Go From Here, by B. Sanders, p.16-7, on 2016 DNC , Jul 9, 2016

Curb the influence of lobbyists; no to Citizens United

Our political system is under assault by those who believe that special interests should be able to buy whatever they want in our society, including our government. Our opponents have applauded the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United and welcomed the new flow of special interest money with open arms. In stark contrast, we believe we must take immediate action to curb the influence of lobbyists & special interests on our political institutions.

Those who leave the executive branch may not lobby this administration and officials may not accept gifts from lobbyists. We support campaign finance reform, by constitutional amendment if necessary. We support legislation to close loopholes and require greater disclosure of campaign spending. Pres. Obama and the national Democratic Party do not accept contributions from federal lobbyists this cycle. We support requiring groups trying to influence elections to reveal their donors so the public will know who's funding the political ads it sees.

Source: 2012 Democratic Party Platform , Sep 4, 2012

Your vote should count; no voter ID laws

We believe the right to vote and to have your vote counted is an essential American freedom, and we oppose laws that place unnecessary restrictions on those seeking to exercise that freedom. Democrats have a proud history of standing up for the right to vote. During the Obama administration, the Justice Department has initiated careful, thorough, and independent reviews of proposed voting changes, and it has prevented states from implementing voter identification laws that would be harmful to minority voters. Democrats know that voter identification laws can disproportionately burden young voters, people of color, low-income families, people with disabilities, and the elderly, and we refuse to allow the use of political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens.
Source: 2012 Democratic Party Platform , Sep 4, 2012

Meaningful campaign finance reform to restore public trust

The Democratic Party is committed to real ethics reform and meaningful campaign finance reform that protects our rights and ensures that elected officials act ethically -- not just within the law, but within the spirit of the law. Democrats offer an aggressive reform package to reverse Republican excesses and restore the public trust.

We are committed to immediate change to lead our country in a new direction, to put an end to Republican business as usual, and to make certain our nationís leaders serve the peopleís interests, not special interests. For us, this commitment spans our lifetime, as we were elected to represent the people, not the powerful.

Our goal is to restore accountability, honesty and openness at all levels of government. To do so, we will create and enforce rules that demand the highest ethics from every public servant, sever unethical ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, and establish clear standards that prevent the trading of official business for gifts.

Source: 2006 Democratic Party Congressional Promise , Nov 1, 2006

Line-item veto to root out pork-barrel spending

We will enact a Constitutional version of the line-item veto to make it easier to root out pork-barrel spending. And we will make our government more efficient by cutting the waste of taxpayer dollars in the federal budget, from unneeded travel budgets to crony contracting.
Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p.25 , Jul 10, 2004

Ensure accessible, independently auditable, accurate voting

Voting is the foundation of democracy, a central act of civic engagement, and an expression of equal citizenship. Voting rights are important precisely because they are protective of all other rights. We will call for legislative action that will fully protect & enforce the fundamental Constitutional right of every American to vote-to ensure that the Constitutionís promise is fully realized and that, in disputed elections, every vote is counted fully and fairly. To advance these goals, and to guarantee the integrity of our elections and to increase voter confidence, we will seek action to ensure that voting systems are accessible, independently auditable, accurate, and secure. We will support the full funding of programs to realize this goal. Finally, it is the priority of the Democratic Party to fulfill the promise of election reform, reauthorize the expiring provisions of the Voting Rights Act, and vigorously enforce all voting rights laws. Every vote must count & every vote must be counted
Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p.35-36 , Jul 10, 2004

Support McCain-Feingold bill for campaign finance reform

The McCain-Feingold bill is the first piece of legislation that President Gore will submit to Congress. He will insist on lobbying reform, TV time for debates, and a crackdown on special interest issue ads. Al Gore has proposed a public-private, non-partisan Democracy Endowment, which will raise money from Americans and finance Congressional elections - with no other contributions allowed.
Source: 2000 Democratic National Platform as adopted by the DNC , Aug 15, 2000

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Page last updated: Feb 24, 2022