Working together, we’re building a democracy where everyone participates, every vote is counted, and everyone’s voice is heard by reducing barriers that have made it more difficult for everyday Americans, especially women and people of color, to participate.

We deserve a government that represents all of us and this can only be accomplished if we are able to elect leaders whose lived experiences resemble those of the communities and people they represent. People from all walks of life should be able to run for office, not just the wealthy and well-connected.

Right now, white men are 31 percent of the population, but hold 65 percent of the seats in Congress. In fact, 90 percent of more than 42,000 elected officials, from county level to president, are white and 70 percent of those are white men, even though women and people of color make up about 70 percent of the population. The disparity is evident in both major political parties.

Structural barriers to running for office have prevented many highly qualified community leaders from running for office. Americans from working families that don’t have access to money and gerrymandering are two major systemic barriers that block access to many people of color and women from seeking office.

Common Cause offers pragmatic solutions that reduce barriers to participation to ensure that anyone can run for office and not just the wealthy and well-connected. We need to make sure that our leaders are listening to our needs and not the needs of wealthy donors.

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