Every eligible American should take the responsibility and right to vote seriously. We all want an equal voice in deciding the future for our families, our communities, and our country.
From our founding in 1970 through today, a core principle of Common Cause is that as more eligible Americans participate, our democracy becomes stronger. In 1971, we led the campaign that won the 26th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, allowing 18 year-olds to vote.
Today, we are winning campaigns to modernize elections, making them more fair, secure, and accessible with automatic voter registration laws and same-day registration at polling places on Election Day. We are ensuring security and fairness at the ballot box by demanding paper back-ups and post-election risk-limiting audits to detect foul play early.
Voters have the ultimate power and, working together, we hold elected officials accountable, ensuring they play by the rules and work for all the people.
The public has a right to know who is influencing our politics. In 1972, Common Cause sued President Richard Nixon’s campaign for hiding donors; the case was a key step in unfolding the Watergate scandal, forcing Nixon’s resignation, and ushering in an era of common sense reforms to check money’s influence on politics.
Common Cause mobilized to expose the former President Trump administration’s corrupt practices and to prevent him and his cronies from profiting off his presidency which would degrade our democracy. That’s consistent with our past work bringing down Speaker of the House Jim Wright, D-TX, and countless state officials in both parties. In America, no one is above the law.
We believe in everyone’s right to know who is influencing our government.
In the 1970s, Colorado Common Cause led the campaign to pass the nation’s first open meetings law. Since then, nearly every state — often with Common Cause leading the effort — has passed laws that guarantee the people’s access to public records, require legislative hearings be open to the public, and bring more transparency to government budgets and spending.
We continue to make government more open, transparent, and honest by shining a light on secret money in our elections. Informed voters can make the best choices about the future of our communities and country when we have access to accurate information.
We believe in a government of, by, and for the people, not wealthy special interests.
From the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to the McCain–Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, Common Cause and its members have advocated for commonsense solutions that hold wealthy special interests accountable and ensure everyday people – not just big donors – have a voice in government.
Today, we continue our work to create a democracy where the people’s voice is bigger than special interest money. We are leading successful campaigns from Connecticut to Oregon, Maryland to California, to pass laws that amplify the voices of small dollar donors with citizen-funded election programs.
We know that the ultimate power in a democracy is the people.
Common Cause led successful campaigns to establish watchdog agencies that serve as impartial referees when politicians use their power for their personal gain. We led efforts to create independent ethics commissions and offices in states across the country and in Congress.
We continue to mobilize our members to be citizen watchdogs, ensuring the power of the people is heard in government. We know in a strong, 21st century democracy, voters must pick their politicians and hold them accountable, not the other way around.