I believe the right to vote is arguably the most essential right because it guarantees all other rights. Our country has a proud tradition of progressive reforms that have made elections more fair, including granting universal suffrage, adopting the secret ballot, and eliminating poll taxes. Minnesota has been at the forefront of modern reforms with Election Day voter registration, the virtual elimination of voter fraud, reasonable limits on campaign contributions, and transparency for campaign advertisements.
Bringing Minnesota Election Laws to the Rest of the Country:
Minnesota is known for our clean and fair elections, along with routinely having the highest voter participation in the country -- usually over 70%. This is made possible because of Minnesota's election laws, which I believe should serve as a model for the rest of the United States. I am proud to author legislation that would bring the Minnesota model of Election Day voter registration to the rest of the country. It's a common sense measure that brings more people into the democratic process.
Getting Corporate Special Interests Out of Elections:
I believe that American citizens - not corporations or special interests - should determine the future of our country through the electoral process. The 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, has the potential to upend our entire electoral process. This deeply flawed decision overturns decades of precedent and allows corporations and special interest groups to spend unlimited amounts of money with zero accountability. In effect, this decision puts our representative democracy up for auction to the highest corporate bidders.
To address this problem, I believe we must adopt public financing of federal campaigns -- it's the best way to make elections more fair and allow candidates to focus on representing the needs of their constituents and not just on fundraising. Since corporate money poses a serious threat to our democracy, we should also consider amending our Constitution to reaffirm that corporations are not entitled to the same rights as American citizens and close this loophole for good.