The cornerstone of our democracy, one of the most fundamental components of American citizenship, is the right to vote in free and fair elections. But the right to vote has been under attack from politicians who cynically seek to hold onto their own power by undermining the democratic process. This has taken a number of forms: politicians have enacted restrictive rules to minimize voter participation from people who they don’t think will vote for them. Legislatures have gerrymandered their districts, creating a situation where politicians choose their voters rather than voters choosing their representatives. The Voting Rights Act, which protected the rights of racial minorities to vote without interference, was struck down by an increasingly radical Supreme Court. Unregulated dark money flows freely through our political system and our system of campaign finance pushes our elected officials to pay more attention to billionaires and big corporations than the people who put them in office. We need to right the ship. Josh has a plan to make politics work better for everyday citizens, and it contains three components: protecting voting rights, strengthening our democratic institutions, and passing important legislation.
Josh opposes any effort to water down our fundamental right to vote and will fight hard to make the process open and accessible to all eligible voters.
That’s why Josh supports:
- Same-day voter registration and registration on Election Day. We have the technology to do this safely now: there’s no reason to impose arbitrary and unnecessarily long waiting periods on people who want to exercise their right to vote
- At least two weeks of early voting for all citizens. Virginia has been a leader in this: since we expanded early voting, we have seen a significant increase in voter participation from both parties. Giving people the chance to vote is a good thing, regardless of who they vote for.
- Federal support for state-run vote-by-mail programs and no excuses absentee voting. Vote-by-mail is safe, efficient for elections officials and convenient for voters. There’s no reason to let scare tactics affect our use of a helpful tool for running elections.
- Online voter registration in every state. You shouldn’t have to track down a paper form, fill it out and mail it back to the registrar in 2022.
- Voter registration services in all public schools. Let’s make sure the leaders of tomorrow are able to have their voices heard.
- Curbside voting and assistance at the polls for voters with disabilities.
- Remove barriers for formerly incarcerated people who wish to have their right to vote restored. This is a basic issue of fairness: when people have paid their debt to society, they deserve to be able to return to society with the rights of full citizenship.
Protecting Our Democratic Institutions
The last few years have made it starkly clear: our democracy needs better guardrails. We’ve learned that we have fewer tools in place than we thought to protect ourselves from elected officials who put our national security at risk in order to profit financially, presidents who try to pardon themselves for serious crimes, legislators who attempt seize and retain power by force or by overturning democratic elections, and members of Congress who refuse to work together to pass needed legislation. We need to build in laws where there are now only “norms”, and we need to work hard to loosen the grip of big money on our politics.
That’s why Josh will vote to:
- End the filibuster. It’s an archaic process that allows legislators to cynically obstruct legislative progress in order to preserve their own power.
- Support independent and nonpartisan redistricting commissions to draw fair voting maps. It’s time to take this out of the hands of legislators: both parties have spent decades drawing districts that favor their party, and that has done nothing to help voters get the representation they deserve.
- Modify and update the Electoral Count Act to make sure that all states are required to let their voters decide the outcome of an election.
- Stop stalling on statehood for Washington DC and Puerto Rico: if our protectorates vote to become states, that vote should be binding.
- Make sure the census counts members of the military and incarcerated people in their home community, not the place they are currently stationed or detained. Closing this loophole will help us draw maps that more accurately represent the makeup of our country.
- Enact comprehensive campaign finance reform, including a requirement for all PACs to disclose their donors.
Passing Key Legislation
In Congress, Josh will be a vote for several existing key pieces of legislation that will protect the right to vote and strengthen our democracy. These include:
- The John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would restore several parts of the Voting Rights Act and make sure that states cannot enact voting laws that would disproportionality disadvantage minority populations.
- The Protecting Our Democracy Act, which helps prevent future presidents from abusing their power and strengthens the rule of law.
- The Freedom to Vote Act which would protect our right to vote, limit gerrymandering and help get big money out of politics.