Amid a presidential campaign marked by record-high voter turnouts and record-low approval ratings for the political process, good-government nonprofit Common Cause announced plans recently for a “Democracy Scorecard” to rank lawmakers based on their support for legislation that would make government more representative and responsive.
The non-partisan agency sent letters to all members of the House and Senate, asking them to co-sponsor and support a dozen bills “which will amplify the voices of everyday Americans.”
A scorecard detailing the lawmakers’ co-sponsorship record will be published this summer.
“While these bills will not solve all of our democracy’s problems, they would significantly strengthen the voices of all Americans, the vast majority of whom cannot start a Super PAC, organize a fundraiser, or hire a lobbyist” Common Cause President Miles Rapoport wrote to the lawmakers. “If you’re already signed on as a co-sponsor for any or all of these bills, thank you. If you are not a co-sponsor, we urge you to become one and to help us ensure that government will always be ‘of, by, and for’ the people.”
The package includes the “Government by the People Act,” which would increase the clout of small-dollar donors, the “Democracy for All” Amendment to overrule the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, and the “Voting Rights Advancement Act” to modernize and restore voter protections originally included in the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Also included are bills to toughen disclosure requirements and keep foreign political spending out of U.S. campaigns, stop partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, provide for automatic voter registration of eligible citizens and tighten ethics rules for justices the Supreme Court.
“Each of these bills commands broad public support and deserves bipartisan support in Congress. Together, the bills would go a long way toward delivering the government ‘of, by and for the people’ that we read about in our civics and American history textbooks,” said Aaron Scherb, Common Cause’s legislative director.
The bills that will be scored for the Senate can be found here: http://www.commoncause.org/policy-and-litigation/letters-to-government-officials/democracy-scorecard-letter-to-senate.pdf
The bills that will be scored for the House can be found here: http://www.commoncause.org/policy-and-litigation/letters-to-government-officials/democracy-scorecard-letter-to-house.pdf