New Scorecard to Chart Lawmaker Support for Pro-Democracy Bills in 115th Congress

As 2018 congressional races heat up, Common Cause is once again tracking the positions of every Member of Congress on issues vital to the health of our democracy. Members of the House and Senate have received letters asking them to co-sponsor and support more than a dozen democracy reform bills and informing them that their co-sponsorship record will be published to our 1.1 million members during the lead-up to Election Day in Common Cause’s “Democracy Scorecard.” In the wake of revelations of Russian attacks on the 2016 election, the tracked bills include legislation to safeguard the Special Counsel’s Russian Investigation and a bill requiring disclosure of online political advertisements.

“Americans deserve accountable representation in Washington and the Democracy Scorecard will once again inform voters where their representatives stand on a variety of reform measures, including legislation to prevent a repeat of the Russian attack on the 2016 election,” said Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn. “Voters want to know if their elected officials are putting country before party when it comes to defending our elections from attacks by hostile foreign powers, and the Scorecard will make clear exactly where Senators and Representatives come down on those measures and a number of other reforms designed to give every citizen a voice in Washington.”

“The commonsense reforms in these bills share broad public support that deserves strong bipartisan backing in Congress,” said Aaron Scherb, Common Cause legislative director. “Despite the gridlock on Capitol Hill, reforms similar to the bills on the Scorecard are being enacted across the country at the state and local level. Members would be wise to take note of this groundswell of public support for reform in the states.”

The bills included in the Democracy Scorecard reflect a comprehensive reform agenda that public opinion research indicates has consistently high levels of support across the ideological spectrum.

The Scorecard includes:

  • S 1989/HR 4077 (Honest Ads Act), which would require disclosure rules for online political advertisements, similar to television, radio, and printed political ads.
  • S 2644/HR 5476 (Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act), which would ensure that the current Special Counsel (and any future Special Counsels) can only be fired for good cause and with written justification by a senior Justice Department official; the bill also provides the Special Counsel with a 10-day window to seek expedited judicial review of removal to determine whether the firing was for good cause
  • S 1419/HR 2978 (Voting Rights Advancement Act), which would update the Voting Rights Act to help prevent states and localities from passing restrictive voting changes that make it more difficult for eligible Americans to vote
  • HR 20/S 1640 (Government by the People Act/Fair Elections Now Act), which would provide tax incentives to encourage small dollar donations to congressional candidates and create a system of matching funds to amplify the voices of those donors and reduce candidates’ dependence on big money
  • HR 1102 (Redistricting Reform Act), which would create impartial citizen commissions to help end partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts
  • HR 12/S 1437 (Voter Empowerment Act), which would modernize voting systems, provide online voter registration and allow same day or Election Day registration, ensuring that the votes of military members and Americans overseas are counted

The Scorecard will not ‘rate’ candidates. Instead, it will spotlight the sponsors and co-sponsors of legislation that would protect our elections, elevate the voices of all Americans in politics and government, make voting more accessible, end partisan gerrymandering so that every American has a fair chance to elect representatives of their choice, and promote high ethical standards for elected and appointed officials.

To view the letter to Senators, click here.

To view the letter to Representatives, click here.

Common Cause’s 2016 Democracy Scorecard can be viewed here.