FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 19, 2019
MAYOR DE BLASIO ROLLS OUT NEW DEMOCRACY PLATFORM TO RETURN POLITICAL POWER TO WORKING PEOPLE, FEATURING LARGEST PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCING PLAN OF ANY 2020 CANDIDATE
Proposal would introduce 8:1 matching for small dollar contributions to combat power of billionaire donors, establish Chief Democracy Officer to oversee national voting and democracy initiative.
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today unveiled his new policy proposal to expand the democratic process in America, featuring national automatic voter registration and the largest expansion of public financing of any 2020 candidate.
“Creating a country that puts working people first starts with taking power out of the hands of the wealthy and well-connected and returning it to everyday Americans,” said Mayor of New York City and 2020 Presidential Candidate Bill de Blasio. “If we’re going to fix our broken democratic system, we need solutions that fit the scale of the problems that we face, and my Democracy Platform makes the changes we need to once again create a government by, of, and for the people.”
Our government is built on the value of one person, one vote, and the centuries-long fight to make that value a reality has been a crucial part of the American experiment. But in recent decades that principle has been under siege from a right-wing, corporate agenda. Republicans have attacked the right to vote with purges of voting rolls and onerous voter ID laws. Meanwhile, the voices of ordinary Americans have been drowned out as corporate interests and billionaires have flooded elections with dark money donations.
The de Blasio Democracy Platform would put ordinary people back in charge of the political process by creating the strongest public financing program of any 2020 candidate. Building off the public campaign financing reforms New York City has enacted under Mayor de Blasio’s leadership, maximum contributions would be limited to $1,000 for candidates accepting public financing, and $2,500 for candidates who opt out of public financing. Candidates who opt in would enter an 8-to-1 public matching system for all small dollar donations of up to $200, so that a supporter’s $20 donation becomes $180 for the candidate of their choice. Under such a system, candidates of ordinary means can run for office without ever having to appeal to wealthy donors.
Additionally, within his first month in office, de Blasio would appoint a Chief Democracy Officer to oversee a National Voter Registration and Democracy Initiative, committing upwards of $1 billion per year for non-partisan voter registration, including registration of formerly incarcerated individuals, recently naturalized citizens, and eligible high school students.
The de Blasio Democracy Platform would also include an effort to expand voter registration and protect Americans’ right to vote, starting with Automatic Voter Registration legislation to automatically register every eligible American when they interact with government agencies. It would also establish voting by mail and in-person early voting across the country.
The CDO would also spearhead the creation of a Democracy Corps, modeled on the Corporation for National and Community Service. Democracy Corps would work with non-partisan organizations and local governments to conduct voter registration and engagement drives, ensure voters at risk of getting purged from voter rolls are informed and empowered to retain their active voter status, and help vulnerable populations have necessary identification and documents to vote.
Every American who wants to vote on election day should be able to do so, without worrying about foreign hacking and election interference, or long lines and outdated equipment. That’s why the de Blasio Administration would also invest $1.5 billion in election security and infrastructure. The money would go for improved voting machines to ensure that every single vote has a verifiable paper trail and cybersecurity upgrades to prevent illegal tampering with voter registration rolls or election counts. Additional investments would go towards hiring more poll workers and creating more polling places, especially in rural areas and on Indian reservations.
A de Blasio Administration would also protect every American’s right to vote by fighting for a fully restored and updated Voting Rights Act (VRA) that would fight back against Red State voter suppression tactics that has been on the rise since the Shelby decision. He would go beyond the VRA by fighting for laws to create independent redistricting commissions in every state, preventing politically motivated voter purges, and restoring the franchise to all eligible formerly incarcerated Americans.
The de Blasio campaign estimates the cost of its democracy platform would be $5 billion annually, which would be financed through a surcharge assessed on penalties paid by banks and corporations as part of civil and criminal convictions and settlements.
For more information and to see the rest of the de Blasio Democracy Platform, click here.