Seven Things We Want To Hear President Obama Say In the State of the Union

Posted on January 20, 2015

President Obama gives his 7th State of the Union speech tonight -- here's what we'd like to hear from him.

1.       A call to overturn Citizens United

5.4 million people from across the country have voted on resolutions in favor of overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, which opened the floodgates to special interest money in elections. Polling has shown over 80% of Americans oppose the decision. President Obama should listen to the American people and affirm his call to overturn the disastrous ruling.

2.       An Executive Order requiring the disclosure of political contributions from government contractors

In order to avoid corrupt pay-to-play government contracts, President Obama should require contractors doing business with the government to disclose their contributions to dark money groups that spend money in elections. Seems like common sense, right?

3.       A call to modernize and restore the public funding program for presidential elections.

In 2008, Obama became the first major-party candidate in a generation to walk away from public funding for his general election campaign.  The system had not been updated since 1976, when it was enacted by Congress in reaction to Nixon’s Watergate scandal, and the amount and timing of the funds ill-suited the escalating cost of modern campaigns.  Obama pledge to fix the system if he was elected, but six years later we are still waiting for him to take the initiative and push to modernize the Presidential Public Funding Program – a critical anti-corruption reform so that the next generation can have clean elections for the presidency.  It’s time he lived up to his promise!

4.       Recommitment to an guaranteeing an Open Internet

President Obama has been clear in his support for an open internet and real net neutrality protections. We hope he restates his support in the State of the Union address ahead of the FCC’s February 26 vote.

5.         A call for the complete restoration of the Voting Rights Act

In order to protect the voting rights of every American, President Obama should demand Congress pass the Voting Rights Act Amendment to restore the Voting Rights Act.

6.         Call on Congress to support the bipartisan Democracy Restoration Act

The Democracy Restoration  Act would restore the right to vote in federal elections to formerly incarcerated individuals upon completion of their sentences (rather than after parole or probation, the way some states currently require).  Upon release, these individuals are called upon to get jobs, pay taxes, and contribute to their communities.  We must simultaneously restore the constitutional right to vote for these men and women who have paid their debts to society.

7.         Call on states  to reduce barriers to voting by adopting the recommendations of the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration

In January of 2014, the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration issued its 19 recommendations that states should implement to ensure shorter lines at the polling places and ease administrative burdens.  To date, many states across the country are rolling back on electoral reform rather than ensuring that voting remains free, fair, and accessible.  States across the country should implement these effective reforms to ensure smoother – and more accessible – processes for 2016 and thereafter.


Office: Common Cause National

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