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Issue Position: Democracy For All, Right Here In America

Issue Position

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All of my campaigns for public office have been progressive, pragmatic and focused on real solutions to real problems people face. This campaign will be no different. I'm not just looking for big-name endorsements -- I am working to materially improve the lives of the people of the 36th Congressional District, first and foremost, but also the people of California, our country, and our world. We are all in this together!

The path to victory relies on netroots and grassroots activists reaching out to voters, talking to them about what is at stake in this election, and making sure they have the right information to vote their values.

As Secretary of State, one of my top priorities has been to engage young people in the political process, a priority that will be reflected in this campaign. I want to inspire new leaders to organize in their neighborhoods and online. This will be a campaign organized and funded by people who care about the issues, not by corporate interests -- because after all, in a democracy it is the people who make the decisions!

By acting as the voters' advocate and tending to every step in the electoral process, I have consistently inspired, prodded, pushed and jawboned towards one goal: increasing the number of Californians who actively participate in our democracy.

* As Secretary of State, I've worked to increase voter registration and voter turnout across California. I have expanded voter education with creative, cost-efficient programs in seven of the most common languages used by California citizens. I established a multi-partisan working group to help simplify California's official voter registration card, making it easier than ever to register to vote. Such a small thing -- most people will never know there was a change -- but what a big different it makes to the volunteers out there who are registering citizens to vote!
* A record 13.7 million California voters -- more than 79% of those who were registered to vote -- cast their ballots in the November 2008 statewide election.
* With an eye toward hooking young people on democracy and supporting educators with hands-on civic engagement projects, I have coordinated two statewide student mock elections. The mock elections gave teenagers first-hand experience with analyzing real issues and candidates and provided teachers with the toolkits they needed to organize activities and balloting. At the program's peak, more than 260,000 students from 644 schools cast mock ballots for president and state ballot measures.
* I have pushed through changes that keep distance from getting in the way of voting for Californians serving in the military or living overseas. These voters face unique challenges! I led an effort to change California law so that any overseas ballot postmarked by Election Day will be counted if it arrives at the county elections office within the week following the election. While that effort was blocked in the State Senate in 2010, I believe it's only a matter of time until it passes. (It is already the law in many states.) When I am elected to Congress, I will work for national standards to ensure that the voices of U.S. citizens serving in the military or working overseas are heard on Election Day. Isn't it the very least we can do to respect the commitment of our troops and our Peace Corps members?

As Secretary of State, I've worked with law enforcement agencies across the state to ensure those who break the law in elections or business dealings are brought to justice.

To protect the integrity of the electoral process, my Election Fraud Investigation Unit (EFIU) examines allegations of illegal activity such as registration fraud, voter intimidation and misleading petition circulation. The SOS does not prosecute election law violations, but my EFIU investigators consistently work with the state Attorney General and local district attorneys to go after people who violate elections laws.


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