Protecting & Strengthening Democracy

From our State’s voting process to legislation that allows corruption and technological invasions of privacy and an ever-expanding police state – our democracy is regularly weakened.  The denial of democracy for some in this State is a denial of democracy for us all and it doesn’t have to be this way.

Our voting process is expensive, riddled with corruption and typically unsatisfying to voters because it’s hyper partisan, doesn’t truly represent the will of the People or our electorates needs, and has yet to provide meaningful and systemic change.  

Government at every level has made it harder to vote through a variety of means – reducing our democracy into a sick sacrifice of 3-8 hours waiting in lines and polling stations with more broken than functioning machines for some while others have valet, no wait and hors d’oeuvres.  We continue to have two distinctly different experiences and systems in the State – one for the Poor and one for California’s top 4%.

The Supreme Court of The United States reversed century-old campaign finance restrictions – enabling corporations and other outside groups to spend unlimited amounts of funds on elections. A decision that has had devastating consequences and 

repercussions for American democracy and the fight against political corruption.  Unironically, the majority of justices initially wrote that independent spending cannot be corrupt, or a substantive threat of corruption, and that such spending would be transparent.  11 years of democracy weakened later – all these assumptions that have proven to be wildly incorrect.  Voting in California is now being determined not by what is in our best interests – but the amount of money and lies that can be injected to influence our decisions.  From individual candidates to dark money, corporations and special interests to pay their ways onto the ballot, and buy our electeds. Our government is already privatized.

We need to return our democracy back to #OurCalifornia and we cannot do this by clinging to policies that have weakened our voices, our votes, our communities and our government.  

Wealthy donors, corporations, and special interest groups have long had an outsized influence in our elections.  Upton Sinclair’s 1934 Socialist campaign for The Governor Ending Poverty in California was such a threat to finally addressing the needs of the Poor that the establishment changed the game.  The California Gubernatorial race of 1934 enabled the traumatic birth of modern, corporate-financed (and unnecessarily vicious) political campaigning.  It’s only right that #OurCalifornia’s 2022 Ending Poverty in California campaign brings it all full circle.

#OurCalifornia deserves transformative and nonincremental systemic change – it’s time we make it and it’s time we take our government back. When #OurCalifornia’s most marginalized are protected and succeed, we all win.

I believe that we can protect and strengthen our democracy through a multidimensional approach that is both practical and radical.  As your Governor, I intend to End Poverty in California, and this is how I believe protecting & strengthening our democracy will help us achieve this:

  • Protecting Democracy, the Will of the People & Our Voting Process by:
    • Making Voting Day a Paid State Holiday;
    • Creating legislation that bans disinformation/misinformation campaigns for all ballot measures and electeds at every level in the State as;
    • Returning public elections in the State of California to the public.  Publicly funded elections dramatically reduce waste, allow for equitable coverage and funding for all candidates interested in running.  Publicly funded elections can end the extreme favor provided to individuals with massive backing from major political parties, large corporations and further democratize the vote;
      • Create legislation which challenges the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Buckley v. Valeo, and requires that all candidates running for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Legislative Offices, & all judgeships in the State of California to use public financing programs, specifically clean elections programs, and abide solely by state solicitation & expenditure limits:
        • Ban the solicitation of campaign finance from PACs, SuperPACs, major political parties, unions, lobbyists, corporations, and special interest groups;
          • Electeds should represent and be beholden to the People. our communities, #OurCalifornia;
    • Creating State of California Legislation which challenges the SCOTUS precedent for the sole purpose of overturning Citizens’ United as it erodes our Democracy, the will of the People, and has exponentially expanded the unaccountability of Large Corporations;
    • Extending state registration timelines to alleviate voter registration purges;
    • Ensuring legislation that ends the diversion of no-party preference voters to provisional ballots and provide real paper ballots to all registered voters as California is an open primary State;
    • #FreeTheVote – the right to vote in this country should be elevated and we must protect this right to vote and accessibility to do so for all underserved and marginalized populations in this state – this includes incarcerated peoples and those on parole;
      • Furthermore, incarcerated peoples are counted for gerrymandering and redistricting purposes via the Census.  Their voices and their existence cannot continue to be ignored;
    • Ensuring the right to vote to all eligible and registered Californians & remove all voter disenfranchisement methods employed by the State & duopoly to limit the voice of the People;
    • Increasing accessibility and options for our disabled voters to fully participate in the ways which they prefer (mail-in, in-person, etc):
      • Ensure ALL in-person voting locations are fully-ADA accessible, and increase ADA voting booths per polling location and ensure #CripTheVote
    • Creating legislation that bans further locality permanent elimination of polling locations across the State without 60-day notice; 
    • Appropriately funding the election process to ensure voting at any designated polling station in the State takes no more than 15 minutes; 
      • This will require an expansion of voting booths, paper ballots & staffing;
      • Poll workers – Part-time State employment (?)
    • Working with Redding’s own Center for Election Science to bring forward the responsive government that #OurCalifornia deserves: one that is Constitutional, accurate, equally weighs votes, and combats the influence of corporate money in politics:
    • Bring back paper ballots, ending taxpayer subsidized and unnecessarily expensive computer ballot machines through companies such as Electronic Systems & Software (ES&S)  & a number of others which breakdown, have routine computer glitches that delay the overall day-of voting time and experience at polling places, and/or are questionably linked directly to politicians in office:
      • End politicians benefiting directly or indirectly from conflicts of interests, and potential corruption at the expense of #OurCalifornia with private corporations used for our elections;
      • End a standard practice of under-printing paper ballots for the substitution of provisional ballots; ensure legislation that provides each registered Californian to vote with one paper ballot;
      • #OurCalifornia can sign and submit their paper ballot;
      • Utilize blockchain for ballot counting, ballot receipts and voter/ballot confirmation to ensure transparency, validity & the highest protection available;
  • Ending Political Corruption and improving Accountability & Transparency of our Electeds by:
    • Creating legislation that allows any member of #OurCalifornia to submit formal complaints for formal public ethics investigation of any California Elected’s conduct unbecoming of their position, ties to political corruption, pay-for-play schemes, or personal financial gain;
      • If found responsible the elected can receive sanctions including but not limited to: community restitution, forfeiture, recall/impeachment;
  • Instituting term limits on all California elected positions in the California State Assembly, California State Senate, California’s Federal Congressional seats & Gubernatorial seat;
  • Ending Technological Invasions of Privacy & the expansion of our Police State by:
    • Banning the use and immediately end all contracts for Stingray, Dirtbox and all other similar surveillance programs by any State of California or locality within government/public office as it infringes upon our privacy and Constitutionally protected rights;
    • Banning the use and immediately end all contracts for facial recognition technology (Clearview, Palintir, Dahua, etc) by the State of California or locality within, be it government/public office/public servant as it infringes upon our privacy and Constitutionally protected rights;
    • Challenging the Constitutionality of the National Defense Authorization Act (2011) & (2014) which allows for the indefinite detention by the United States government of its own citizens under the authority of the President.  This law which President Obama authorized is a direct assault and undermining of habeas corpus and a historic assault on American liberty and functioning democracy;
  • I look forward to working with Center for Election Science, Grassroots Policy Project, Sustainable Economies Law Center, Change Congress, Institute for Local Government, Every Voice and Public Campaign, Common Cause, Sunlight Foundation, Represent.Us, Institute for Policy Studies & other grassroots and impactful organizations, pillars in governmental ethics, transparency, democracy, investigative journalism,  human rights, and research communities to ensure the needs of ALL in #OurCalifornia are inclusive and sustainably met;
  • In the true spirit of Upton Sinclair’s End Poverty in California campaign, I will call on fellow Citizens, Socialists, Governors, and fellow Socialist Gubernatorial campaigns across this country to adopt and implement the same.