Our 2013 Legislative Agenda
Leaders in the NC General Assembly are pushing legislation to make voting harder and give more benefits to the special interests that finance their elections. Democracy North Carolina opposes new restrictions on voting and will work for legislation that gives people more power over narrow special interests. We also need to reform the redistricting process and improve ethics laws.
Protect the Right to Vote
Voter ID: Requiring voters to show a photo ID may sound like common sense, but thousands of registered voters in NC don’t have one – and a disproportionate number are people of color, seniors, and women who changed their name. Currently, all voters attest who they are by signing in when voting; lying is a felony. That’s a procedure that protects access and security; it’s working! No eligible voter should be turned away because they don’t have a certain kind of ID. Politicians should not tamper with voting laws for their own gain.
Save Early Voting and Sunday Voting: Over half of the NC voters in 2012 used early voting. It is convenient, cost effective and eases pressure on Election Day. We must protect early voting so working people can vote without waiting in long lines. Also: 61,000 voters in 21 counties used Sunday voting in 2012. Sunday voting must be protected.
Same-Day Registration (SDR) allows people to register and vote during Early Voting. Nearly 100,000 new voters used SDR in 2012. Even more voters used it to update their registration. SDR is secure and increases voter participation. If more ID is required of voters, then we should allow SDR on Election Day!
Respect Our Vote: For decades, NC was in the bottom third of the states for voter turnout, but we’re now in the top half, thanks to reforms like Same-Day Reg! We must also protect other reforms like pre-registration for teenagers, out-of-precinct voting, straight party voting – and add new ones like on-line registration.
Redistricting Reform: After each census, the party in control of the General Assembly redraws district lines so they can win elections more easily. Gerrymandering is getting worse with the use of computers to draw district lines through neighborhoods. Voters should choose politicians, not the other way around. An nonpartisan, independent body should draw the line, as in Iowa, using public input and adhering to the Voting Rights Act. Fair districts make every vote valuable!
Money in Politics
Preserve Judicial Public Financing: It’s crazy to have judges raising money from the attorneys who appear in their courts. NC gives candidates for the top courts the option of receiving a limited public grant for their campaign IF they agree to strict fundraising limits and raise hundreds of small qualifying donations from voters. This program also helps low-wealth candidates and it has improved the diversity on our courts. We need to protect judicial public financing from attack.
Improve Disclosure Laws: NC voters have a right to know who funds campaigns and election ads. Political groups and candidates should file disclosure reports electronically, and more frequently, so the public can easily know who’s paying for what. Candidates must be responsible for fines levied against their campaign.
Corporate Money: To address the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, we need an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that says (a) corporations are not people and (b) political spending is not free speech, so Big Money can be regulated! To show support, people should organize to get their local governments to pass resolutions against the Citizens United decision.
Strengthen Ethics Laws: Legislators should wait two years, not just six months, after leaving office before they come back as lobbyists. To reduce the pay-to-play culture, we need strict controls on donations given by state contractors and political appointees. A bill (S-10) to suddenly gut key policy boards is bad government.
Contact your legislators at 919-733-4111 and Gov. Pat McCrory at 800-662-7952. Tell them: “Oppose any bill that makes voting harder and support the Judicial Public Financing Program.”
For more action, call Democracy North Carolina at 919-286-6000. You can download a printable copy of the agenda here.