Elections and Campaign Finance
Fighting for fair, transparent elections
The integrity and the fairness of our elections are at the very heart of American democracy. They are among of the proudest legacies of our Founding Fathers and a beacon to the rest of the world.
Transparency is critical for free and fair elections and for democracy to function, because the American people —the voters who hire and fire all who serve in public office – have a right to know who each candidate represents, who is funding their campaigns, what goals they will pursue in office, in order to decide if that candidate will serve their interests.
Senator Coons’ election and campaign finance priorities include:
- Overturn Citizens United. In the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court decided that Congress cannot regulate how corporations spend money to influence elections. The result is an impression that elected officials are accountable to corporate interests, even where they conflict with the interest of real American citizens. Senator Coons supports an amendment to restore the view of the Constitution that prevailed before 2009 and permit Congress to pass reasonable corporate-speech restrictions to ensure accountability of elected officials.
- No secret campaign spending. Citizens United also has the side effect of permitting corporations attempting to influence elections to do so in secret. The DISCLOSE Act, which Senator Coons has cosponsored, is a modest attempt to lessen the destructive impact the Citizens United decision is having on American elections. Secret speech is more likely to be negative, at great potential cost to civility and to our unity as a nation. Secrecy also allows speakers to distort facts and conceal their real motivations. The DISCLOSE Act is an opportunity to level the playing field by promoting greater transparency for voters.
- Polling place efficiency. The irregularities and delays that plagued recent elections cannot be allowed to reoccur. Long lines are a form of voter disenfranchisement, a polling place running out of ballots is a form of voter suppression, and making it harder for citizens to vote is a violation of voters’ civil rights. Senator Coons introduced the Louis L. Reading FAST Voting Act as a creative way to jumpstart states’ election reform efforts and to ensure that polling place inefficiencies experienced in recent elections do not happen again.
- Open and fair access to the ballot box. The Supreme Court ruling on Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act in the case of Shelby County v. Holder is deeply disappointing. The Court has taken the legs out from underneath the Voting Rights Act, making it impossible for the Department of Justice to enforce the critical civil rights protections afforded under Section 5. Chris supports common sense, bipartisan legislation to close the floodgates to discriminatory practices re-opened by the Supreme Court.