Proposed legislative package would take on voter suppression, gerrymandering, dark money, and unequal representation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today unveiled a sweeping blueprint to restore American democracy, outlining a series of proposals to take on voter suppression, gerrymandering, dark money, and unequal representation in our democracy.
“The ‘We the People’ vision of our Constitution is being corrupted by dark, anti-democratic forces,” said Merkley. “We need to restore our democracy. Right now, the privileged and powerful are running the show. It’s time to make sure every American has a truly equal voice in the direction of our nation, and that we have a government that responds to the hopes and needs of working Americans.”
Merkley’s blueprint proposes passage of existing legislation—such as the DISCLOSE Act and the Voting Rights Advancement Act—and also proposes new bills to fill the gaps necessary to restore our democracy, which Merkley will introduce in the 116th Congress.
Specifically, the Merkley blueprint for restoring democracy calls for:
Ending Dark Money:
· Pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
· Ensure transparency in political donations.
· Give shareholders a voice in corporate political spending.
· Give public citizens legal standing to sue corporations if the FEC fails to enforce election laws.
· Promote small donor engagement in elections.
· End partisan gerrymandering by requiring independent redistricting commissions to draw lines for all congressional districts, based on clear criteria to ensure representatives are responsive to their constituents.
Protecting and Expanding the Rights of Voters:
· Reinstate the Voting Rights Act.
· Ensure equal access to polling locations and provisions to prevent long lines to vote.
· Institute national vote-by-mail.
· Enhance election security.
· Require all states to allow early voting for at least two weeks before Election Day.
· Stop voter list purges.
· Restore voting rights for those who served time for felony offenses.
· Nationwide automatic voter registration and same-day registration.
Ensuring Equal Representation:
· Abolish the Electoral College and elect Presidents by a national popular vote.
· Provide a pathway for voting representation in Congress for American citizens in D.C., Puerto Rico, and the territories.