Improve and enforce disclosure requirements for all entities working to influence our elections – including nonprofit organizations
Although we have done much to ensure that Coloradans know who is trying to influence their vote, we still have work to do.
Since the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, dark money has increasingly infiltrated state and local races in Colorado. This money comes from nonprofit organizations who are not obligated to release their donors to the public—making the money they spend untraceable to flesh-and-blood humans.
In addition, many political mailers do not require “paid for by” statements – which leave Coloradans questioning who is behind the advertisements they receive. We must strengthen our transparency laws to provide the full disclosure of secretive political giving and pass-through donations, so that voters can “follow the money.”
Support the implementation and expansion of automatic voter registration in Colorado
Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) is a process that replaces outdated paper-based systems with secure, modern, electronic systems. AVR uses technology to make the voter registration system more efficient, secure and accurate. It uses existing data collected by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and technology to link with voting records.
The end result is that all people who meet eligibility requirements can register or update their registration when they interact with a state agency like the DMV, unless they decline.
Beginning in February 2017, when you go online or to a DMV office to renew or update your driver’s license or state ID, the information you provide is used to automatically register you to vote, or update an existing registration with a new address, unless you decline. When you provide your information and electronic signature to complete the registration process, the records are sent on to the Secretary of State’s office, where the staff verifies eligibility and checks for duplicate records.
AVR is a small change that continues to modernize Colorado’s voting system to make sure that every eligible voter in Colorado – Republican, Democrat, or Unaffiliated – has their voice heard in our elections.
Join with other states that agree to allocate state electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, rather than state-by-state, winner-take-all
Free and fair elections mean that every eligible citizen can cast a vote, and every one of those votes must is accurately counted and weighted equally. However, this is not the case in presidential elections. As a result, candidates are pressured to only compete in a handful of swing states, effectively ignoring voters in every other region of the country.
The National Popular Vote interstate compact binds states’ electoral votes to the popular vote winner and does away with the undemocratic Electoral College – ensuring that the winning candidate is the one with the most votes, and that each American’s ballot counts equally. And it only goes into effect when enough states have signed on.
Let’s make Colorado the next state to enter the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
Create and enforce campaign contribution limits for school board candidates
Limiting the amount of money that a campaign can legally accept is one of the most commonsense solutions to ensuring that our elected officials represent the people—not special interests. Setting and enforcing these limits requires candidates to build support from a broad base of voters, instead of solely relying on a few major donors to write big checks.
In 2002, Colorado voters took an important step in limiting campaign contributions by passing Amendment 27. This amendment sets reasonable contribution limits: $200 per election for legislative candidates and $550 per election for statewide candidates. The law also banned direct contributions from corporations and labor unions directly to candidate campaigns.
However, these restrictions do not apply to all local and state races here in Colorado. There are currently no restrictions on how much money candidates running for school board in Colorado can accept from outside sources. The result is that these elections are increasingly becoming flooded with special interest money.
As big money from special interests floods even the smallest elections, we must enact contribution limits for all candidates running for office in Colorado.
Strengthen Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission through proper funding and staffing
In 2006, Colorado voters passed Amendment 41 — which created a revolutionary new structure to enforce ethics in government.
The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission was established to advance an ethical culture and increase awareness of ethical issues in state and local government by hearing ethics complaints against state and local government officials and employees, issuing ethics advice, and providing training.
While creating commission was an important first step, we now must work to ensure this body can properly function. As it stands now, the commission is underfunded, with only two staff and no investigators.
As a result, investigating and prosecuting ethical cases falls to those who are filing the complaint – which in many cases is a member of the public, with limited funding and expertise. We must now properly fund and staff the IEC to protect ethics in our state.
Support legislation, litigation, and other efforts to require Internet Service Providers to comply with net neutrality rules in Colorado, which preserve and protect the open internet
The internet serves more than the businesses that profit from it. It serves Coloradans who rely on it for news and information and who use it to organize, create, and participate in our democracy.
To protect every person’s voice, the internet must be accessible to all. To ensure that every voice can be heard, we can’t let the internet be controlled or dominated by powerful individuals, groups, or organizations who can drown out the rest of our voices.
That’s why we must restore the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules and their guarantee of a free and open internet for everyone.