Reforming Our Elections
Raja opposes the unfettered influx of corporate and special interest money in politics made possible by the Supreme Court’s wrong-headed Citizens United decision. In Congress, Raja is working to make sure that the voices of working people and the poor aren’t drowned out by special interests.
First, Raja supports a constitutional amendment to overturn the effects of Citizens United by stipulating that the free speech rights guaranteed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights are only inherent to natural persons – not to corporations – and that spending unlimited money in elections is not the same as exercising free speech.
Second, Raja is working to eliminate so-called “dark money” from our elections by requiring all organizations to disclose their contributions – including those that currently hide their activities by claiming they are for “social” or “educational” purposes. This huge loophole is enabling wealthy individuals and interest groups to hijack our elections without revealing their true identities or purpose. We must return transparency to our elections, so voters can know who is behind the ads and other spending designed to influence their votes.
Third, Raja is pushing for campaign finance reforms that enable more citizens to participate in our democracy. He has co-sponsored H.R.20, the Government by the People Act of 2017, which would provide tax credits for political contributions to allow greater ease of access to small-dollar donors. In addition, this legislation would establish the Government by the People Oversight Commission, which would oversee a voucher pilot program that would provide voters with a $50 “My Voice Voucher” for making political contributions to candidates, giving more political power to the average American. Furthermore, this legislation would establish a 6-1 matching program for small dollar contributions up to $150 to a candidate that subjects themselves to spending limits, providing greater transparency and making candidates more accessible to the public. This will empower ordinary voters and reduce the over-reliance on special interests that skews our politics in favor of the few over the many.
In addition, Raja is a co-sponsor of H.R.12, the Voter Empowerment Act of 2017. This comprehensive legislation seeks to make it easier for potential voters to participate in the democratic process while prohibiting burdensome policies designed to dissuade voter participation. The bill seeks to increase voter registration by making online registration more readily available, applying automated voter registration to automatically enroll voters throughout the country, allowing for same day voter registration on Election Day, and restoring voting rights to former prisoners who have served their time. This legislation would forbid behavior from election officials designed to decrease voter participation, including voter caging, deceptive practices, and voter intimidation. This legislation also seeks to ensure the integrity and security of our elections, including requirements for voter-verified permanent paper ballots, mandatory manual audits by hand count, and a uniform standard for the counting of provisional ballots. This legislation reflects Raja’s firm belief that our democracy functions best when everyone is able to lend their voice to the public discussion and play a direct role in choosing the leaders of our nation’s future. Easy access to the ballot box is critical to maintaining the integrity of our government and its ability to represent the people as they address the pressing issues of the day.