For Immediate Release
After a Dismal Campaign, Still Plenty of Reasons to Vote
WASHINGTON - A political season marked by an epic Battle of the Airwaves and a disgraceful War on Voting is drawing to a merciful close, but behind the dust kicked up by all those attack ads, there is plenty at stake and compelling reasons for Americans to get out and vote, Common Cause said today.
“Finally, after months of being drowned out by misleading and sometimes downright false advertising, often paid for by hidden, multi-million dollar investors, today is the day American voters can make themselves heard,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport.
“Critical issues are on the ballot across America. In my home state of Connecticut, Common Cause is leading the fight for a state constitutional amendment that would permit early voting. In New York, we’re working to defeat a fatally-flawed redistricting scheme,” Rapoport said.
Voters in Arkansas will get to vote for ethics reform and improved government transparency, Illinois voters get to take a stand on a fundamental right to vote and in Montana, reformers are fighting an attempt to repeal Election Day voter registration, he added.
Elsewhere, millions of voters can take a stand for greater economic opportunity. Five states – Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota – have measures on the ballot to increase the minimum wage; Massachusetts voters get to decide whether employers must provide paid sick leave; Hawaiians are voting on whether the state should provide funds for early childhood private school programs; Nevadans are considering a special tax on businesses, with proceeds devoted to public and charter schools, as well as removing a tax cap on mining companies; Coloradans will decide whether to require labels on genetically-modified foods; Floridians are voting on whether to direct proceeds of one state tax to procuring and protecting wildlife habitat; and Alaskans get a chance to ban controversial mining in salmon-rich Bristol Bay.
“We salute everyone who votes today, or already has voted, particularly the hundreds of thousands who’ve refused to be deterred by a disgraceful, multi-state campaign to erect barriers on their path to the ballot box,” Rapoport said.
While the next Congress will be more beholden to big-money donors than any in recent history – no matter which party claims a majority – Rapoport said Common Cause will continue fighting for economic opportunity for all and for a democracy where everyone can participate and money doesn't rule. “We believe significant gains in these battles are likely at the state level,” he added.
“Surveys done by Democratic and Republican pollsters alike find that large majorities of Americans believe we’re on the wrong track, with economic and political power concentrated in the hands of the richest 1 percent,” Rapoport said.
“Today’s ballots in much of the country offer the rest of us ways to start reclaiming control of government and fixing problems Congress seems unable or unwilling to tackle. We must exercise that power or risk losing it forever. Voting is our right and responsibility; we need to ensure the process is safeguarded – from big money and from bad laws.
“Those who experience problems at the polling place are encouraged to call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Together, we can better the process.”
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.