Advancing Democracy In The States: 3 Big Wins!
We’re just one month into 2023, and already, Common Cause members like you are putting up HUGE wins for democracy in states across the country.
You see, we kicked off this year’s legislative sessions fast and furious. After we rejected election denialism last November, we knew anti-democracy extremists would be fired up with dozens of anti-voter bills prefiled and ready to go on Day One.
But we’ve also identified major opportunities in key states – to push the needle forward and pass positive, pro-voter reforms that invite more Americans to participate in deciding our future.
We’re only able to do this work thanks to your support – here are three BIG wins for democracy from Common Cause’s state leaders this week:
#1 – STOPPING Constitutional Chaos in Montana
The secretive, far-right effort to overturn our Constitution has multiple states in its sights for 2023 – and our grassroots team is fighting back against them wherever they crop up.
After all, these extremists are just six states away from holding an Article V Convention to write their agenda directly into our Constitution – putting freedoms like the right to protest and basic civil rights up for grabs.
But just yesterday, we successfully defeated Article V Convention advocates in Montana – one of their top targets for 2023.
The odds were stacked against us. An initial vote came back 26-24 in support of a convention – which would move us even closer to triggering a potentially disastrous convention.
But thanks to the outpouring of support from Common Cause supporters like you, we were able to mobilize our Montana membership to flood the state legislature with emails and calls. And during the final vote, we flipped the one vote we needed and stopped the bill!
We know this fight isn’t over – because the well-funded far-right interests behind the Article V effort have other states, including Montana, as their top targets for the remainder of the year.
But this big win shows that our strategy works – and that we’re ready to spring into action wherever necessary to STOP this dangerous attack on our rights until this threat is defeated for good.
#2 – ADVANCING The National Popular Vote in Minnesota
Time and time again, we see the same problems in every single presidential election:
- Candidates spend almost all of their time campaigning in just a handful of swing states…
- They ignore people everywhere else – and don’t have much reason to try and win their votes…
- Plus, there’s the ever-present risk that the candidate who loses the popular vote can still win the presidency – like in 2000 and 2016.
Why? The broken Electoral College. That’s why we’re working to build consensus right now in multiple key states to support the National Popular Vote Compact.
The National Popular Vote Compact is an agreement among states to guarantee their electoral votes go to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
When could this take place? Just as soon as states totaling 270 electors – a majority – join in. AND… we’re now closer than you might think, because 15 states and the District of Columbia have already signed on. That gives us 195 electors!
Just this week, we took a major step towards that crucial goal of 270: because Minnesota advanced National Popular Vote out of a key committee, which would add another 10 electoral votes to our total!
Next up is a full floor vote – and Common Cause Minnesota is on the case to make sure this bill doesn’t get watered down or traded away at the last minute. With your help, we have a major opportunity to change the “winner-take-all” Electoral College – and give voters in all 50 states a real say in choosing our president.
#3 – BLOCKING Anti-Voter Amendments in Pennsylvania
Last year, Pennsylvania Republicans ran on an agenda of election denialism, far-right conspiracy theories, and new restrictions on our right to vote.
But even after voters rejected their extremism, they started the new year with a fresh attempt to impose that anti-democracy agenda on the entire state – by skirting the regular legislative process and attempting to push through constitutional amendments.
Instead of listening to voters, Pennsylvania Republicans have tacked amendments onto unrelated bills at the last minute, passed them in the middle of the night, and locked out public input the whole way through.
Their goal? Place hugely controversial measures like strict voter ID on the low-turnout May election, so that a minority of voters could potentially write policies that voters rejected just a few months ago into the state constitution for good!
But after a statewide outcry from Common Cause Pennsylvania members, we’ve successfully stopped them, for now – by blocking these anti-voter amendments from appearing on the ballot.
We’re not out of the woods yet – because the House could still pass these amendments in time to get on the November ballot. And this episode proves that we need clear rules: requiring amendments to be proposed as separate bills, guaranteeing thoughtful deliberation, providing ample time for public input, and inviting expert testimony.
But now that we’ve averted immediate disaster, we’re able to play the long game to fix Pennsylvania’s amendment process – and close the loopholes that Republicans just tried and failed to exploit.