Common Cause Mississippi is the citizen’s advocate in the state of Mississippi. Common Cause Mississippi empowers everyday Mississippians to hold government accountable at the state and national levels.
With the help of our dedicated members and volunteers, we continue to speak out about reducing barriers to voting, making sure that any person has access to government records that are open by law, linking openness and transparency in government to governmental ethics, opening political campaign contribution records, and strengthening the integrity of our government and governmental officials.
1. Money in Politics
In Mississippi and in states across the country, wealthy donors and special interest groups are gaining increasing influence over elections and tightening their stranglehold on the representatives they help to elect – all while keeping their identities and motives secret.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United ruling opened the floodgates of corporate money into our political system. The real problem isn’t how much is being spent – it’s not knowing who spends and what they get in return. Common Cause Mississippi is working to reduce the influence of wealthy donors by pushing for campaign finance reforms that shed light on dark money and help bring power back to the people.
Overturn Citizens United
Common Cause Mississippi firmly believes that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights. That’s why we support the move to overturn Citizens United so that corporations can’t spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns, and in return affect public policy and spending priorities.
Link Government Transparency to Government Ethics
In 2011, Common Cause Mississippi worked to strengthen the state Open Meetings Act by adding the state Ethics Commission as an enforcer of the act. Any Mississippian may bring a complaint to the Ethics Commission about closed meetings, or actions taken in closed meetings, that do not follow the state’s Open Meetings Law. Individual members of the public body that is found to be in violation of the Open Meetings Law can now be fined $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for any subsequent event, as well as all reasonable expenses incurred by the person bringing the complaint.
In 2014, Common Cause Mississippi is one of a coalition of lobbying groups working to add Public Records enforcement to the powers of the Ethics Commission.
2. Voting and Elections
Common Cause Mississippi believes that the most fundamental right granted to a citizen in our democracy is the right to vote and to have that vote counted. We are continuing to work to expand a citizen’s ability to access and cast a ballot through reforms like Online Voter Registration and Election Day Registration, and early voting.
All citizens should have equal opportunity to register, vote for the candidate of their choice, and ensure their vote is counted. We are constantly looking for new ways to broaden and protect Mississippians’ access to the voting booth, and to safeguard the integrity of every vote.
Common Cause Mississippi continues to work to end the overly politicized process that has allowed the state’s majority party leaders to draw state and national district lines, sacrificing communities in favor of incumbent protection and political primacy.
We take as a preferred model the independent citizens redistricting commission enacted in California that draws state legislative and congressional districts in a fair and independent manner, and has become a model for national redistricting reform.