Five recent developments have harmed our elections in significant ways:
1) the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United allowing for unlimited, undisclosed corporate funds to be spent to support pro-corporate candidates;
2) the Supreme Court ruling in Crawford v. in Marion County, upholding Indiana’s draconian photo ID law for elections, paves the way for similar laws that threaten to disenfranchise millions of voters;
3) the MOVE Act included a provision allowing States to implement Internet voting pilot projects, which threatens to undo the substantial gains made in the states since 2003 to deploy paper ballot voting systems and ensure a verifiable vote count;
4) the targeting of voter registration groups and initiatives has helped to reduce the number of legal citizens who are able to exercise their right to vote.
5) the ever increasing privatization of our public elections by corporations using propriety “trade secret” computer hardware and software to cast and count the results in our public elections, outside of the view of the citizenry. To counter and offset these attacks on fair elections, we must quickly pass robust election protection measures. Specifically, we support the passage of legislation to combat voter suppression (such as voter caging, voter roll purging, the disenfranchisement of former felons and draconian polling place photo ID restrictions), increase transparency in vote casting and counting, and reform of campaign finance rules in federal elections.
In addition, a strong, national paper ballot requirement, to be fully implemented by 2012, will protect the national electorate in time for the next presidential election and mitigate the growing threat from Internet voting. The recent attempted monopoly of our elections by the merger of ES&S and Diebold/Premier (which fortunately was overturned by the Justice Department) makes clear the need for the federal government to offer strong incentives for states to oversee their own public elections using hand-marked paper ballots without reliance on private corporations and vendors using secret software.
On April 29, 2010, a bi-partisan group of Congress members from both houses introduced the DISCLOSE Act to mitigate the corrosive effects of unlimited corporate funding on public elections. The following day, President Obama issued a statement supporting the bill. We also strongly support this bill as a first step toward protecting the fairness and integrity of our elections on behalf of the citizenry — We the People. Building on the DISCLOSE Act, our campaign will support the passage of existing legislation to stop purging, caging, disenfranchisement of felons and much more that is needed to ensure the self-governance envisioned by our Founders in the U.S. Constitution.