Voting Rights

2018 Pacific Palisades Democratic Club (PPDC) Voting Rights Platform

The history of our republic is a never-ending march toward universal suffrage. As Democrats, PPDC firmly believes the struggle for “one person, one vote” never ends!

We fought a civil war to end slavery and enfranchise men of color. The women’s suffrage movement tirelessly fought for the Nineteenth Amendment. The civil rights movement fought to remove barriers to voting for minorities. In the 1960s, the Voting Rights Act secured important voting protections, and a series of Supreme Court cases confirmed that the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection extends to the right to vote and the right to have one’s vote counted equally to others. But the fight for voting rights and representation continues today.

California voters are treated as second-class voters in presidential elections. The Electoral College system debases the votes of all Californians — a vote for president cast in Wyoming has 3.6 times the weight of a vote cast in California, and votes cast in all other forty-nine states are weighted more heavily than Californian votes. Because California isn’t a “swing state,” presidential candidates neither actively campaign here nor advocate policies that matter to Californians. The Electoral College system was designed to give Southern slave states power in deciding the presidency. It is embodied in the original Constitution and in the winner-take-all state laws used by the majority of states, and has remained largely unchanged since the early days of the republic.

PPDC actively supports efforts to end this discriminatory, antiquated vestige of slavery and bring “one-person, one-vote” to our presidential election process. These efforts include the National Popular Vote Compact, constitutional amendments to implement a national popular vote, and legal challenges to the Electoral College system on Equal Protection grounds. Many legal scholars believe the Electoral College is superseded by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection clause. In Gray v. Sanders (1963), the Supreme Court found that county-unit systems at the state level, similar to the national Electoral College, were unconstitutional because they unfairly weighted votes. In Bush v. Gore (2000), The Supreme Court again agreed, saying, “When the state legislature vests the right to vote for President in its people, the right to vote as the legislature has prescribed is fundamental; and one source of its fundamental nature lies in the equal weight accorded to each vote and the equal dignity owed to each voter.”

PPDC calls on all candidates it endorses to restore full voting rights to our state by advocating for and procuring that the State of California challenge the Electoral College system in court.

Fair and free elections and an open government being necessary for a free society, PPDC will:

  • Support the California Democratic 2018 Platform for Political Reform
  • Block attempts to restrict access to the polls through voter ID laws, reduced voting hours, and reduced number of polling locations
  • Support open and transparent voting and tabulation systems using paper ballots and locally developed systems that are not connected to the internet or otherwise susceptible to hacking and malware
  • Reinstate the Voting Rights Act pre-clearance requirements that the Supreme Court ended with its Shelby County v. Holder decision, which is allowing jurisdictions with a history discrimination to impose new voting restrictions targeted at minorities and the poor
  • End politically motivated gerrymandering, such as North Carolina’s severely gerrymandered state legislature districts, which were recently struck down in federal court
  • Reinstate voting rights for felons who have paid their debts to society by completing their sentences
  • Support the ability of local communities to choose alternative voting systems, such as ranked-choice voting and instant-runoff voting
  • End the doctrine of corporate persons and the idea that money is speech by actively working to overturn the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission — one person, one vote, not one dollar, one vote;
  • Demand accessibility and accountability from candidates and elected officials, including regular in-person reports and meetings with constituents and mandating all Democratic party candidates participate in major election debates organized by local or national media