WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Communications Workers of America (CWA) signed an open letter sent today to all 2020 presidential candidates urging them to make comprehensive democracy reform an integral part of their campaign platforms. The letter was written and signed by a coalition of more than 100 labor, democracy, environmental, religion, good government, civil rights, and other groups from the Declaration For American Democracy Coalition.
In the letter, the groups call on the presidential candidates to stand with Americans across the country by committing to build on the foundation of the For the People Act, H.R. 1, passed this year in the House of Representatives and its Senate companion, S. 949.
View the letter here.
“Corporate CEOs and the wealthiest 1% have spent decades rigging the political process against working people by making it harder for them to vote, stacking the courts with activist judges who have allowed our elections to be flooded with massive amounts of unreported corporate money, and weakening ethics rules,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “The next president of the United States must restore power to working people by committing to comprehensive democracy reform.”
Polls have shown that voters of all political affiliations are looking for fundamental changes in our democratic process. Below is a list of the following reforms that CWA and the other groups urged all candidates to campaign on and prioritize once in office.
- Expand the right to vote and make it an easier, more inclusive process. This entails early and absentee voting, improving access to polling stations, restoring former felon’s voting rights, and allocating more funding for election security.
- The executive and legislative branches must operate under stronger, more enforceable ethics laws. The next president should endorse, prioritize, and work aggressively with Congress to pass legislation that strengthens and expands federal ethics rules.
- End the dominance of big money in our political system. This means setting limits on campaign contributions, empowering and incentivizing small-dollar fundraising, and strengthening oversight of our campaign finance rules.
- Create more transparency over campaign finance donations and federal influence. This includes mandate disclosure of corporate spending in our elections, more stringent disclosure requirements for politically-active nonprofit groups, more information about online advertising, and easy access to federal ethics and financial disclosure forms.
- Limit the revolving door and create stronger guidelines for the Washington influence industry. This includes policies that expand the cooling-off period for members of Congress and federal officials to become lobbyists, limit the role played by lobbyists in campaigns, expand the definition of lobbyist to eliminate loopholes, and prevent federal officials from profiting off their public service.
- Strengthen the checks and balances system to protect against bad actors. Implementing policies that ensure the president does not abuse the powers of government to settle political scores or place themselves or their friends and family above the law.
For years, CWA members have been on the front lines of the fight for democracy reform, building grassroots support for legislation like the For the People Act (H.R.1) and similar state and local efforts that restore and expand voting rights, get big corporate money out of politics, and implement government ethics reforms. CWA is a founding member of The Democracy Initiative. Last month, CWA and other allies organized the We the People forum in Washington, D.C., where CWA members asked 2020 presidential candidates about their plans to push back against attacks on our democracy that aim to limit the participation of working people.