We’ve created Democracy Voter Guides to help you identify pro-democracy candidates to support. Pro-democracy candidates support a 28th Amendment to limit big money in politics and/or legislation to establish public financing of elections. Candidates who support neither are pro-corruption. Click on your state below to access the Guide for it. More information below.
We continue to improve and add more states and endorsements every day. If you want to help build the Voter Guide contact tyekirk[at]gmail.com. For information on how we determine whether candidates are pro-democracy or pro-corruption and other questions, read below.
How do we determine if a candidate is pro-democracy or pro-corruption?
To determine whether we define a candidate as pro-democracy or pro-corruption, we assess whether or not they have met one of the following two criteria:
- Have they co-sponsored legislation, voted for legislation, or made clear public statements in support of legislation which would advance a 28th Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United and other related Supreme Court decisions (i.e. Buckley v. Valejo, McCutcheon v. FEC) and address the crisis of big money in politics; or
- Have they co-sponsored legislation, voted for legislation, or made clear public statements in support of legislation which would establish a public financing system for funding elections?
If they have met one of these criteria, we assess them as pro-democracy, if not, we assess them as pro-corruption. We do the assessments by a combination of surveys sent to candidates, direct interviews with them or their staff, and research of public information. We only assess competitive candidates.
What do we mean by “competitive candidate”? Why not pure “vote your conscience” standard?
By competitive candidates we mean a candidate that is either one of the top two candidates based on averages of available polling or, in a race with an usually large competitive field, candidates polling over 25% in an average of available polling. This is important because we do not want to contribute to “spoiler” candidacies in which a viable candidate that is better on our issue based on our established standard loses to a candidate that is the worst on our issue because of our support for a candidate that is best on our issue but for other reasons (minor party affiliation, lack of organizational or financial support, lack of name recognition) is not viable.
Why does our standard of support for reform allow for a candidate to meet it while only supporting one of either a Constitutional Amendment or strong public financing legislation instead of both?
We choose this standard to allow for us the most latitude to identify a candidate to support that is clearly better on our issue than the other most competitive candidate – to build a general mandate for reform in principle. We are not seeking to build a mandate for specific legislation at this stage so this latitude is an advantage. For example, a candidate who has been very strong on public financing but has some concerns about specific amendments and has not taken a stand is still a potential ally that we can build with when compared to a candidate that is opposed on both fronts. Ideally and most often, pro-democracy candidates are supporters of both a 28th Amendment and public finance legislation. However, in rare cases where they only support one and are the only competitive candidate who does so, we believe it is best to endorse them and assist their candidacy and then build on their support for the one reform to expand it further when they are elected.
What if both or all competitive candidates in a race meet our standard of support for reform? Or if none do?
In this case, we will assess them both as pro-democracy and not make an endorsement - leaving it up to voters to support whomever is better on other issues to them. Such a circumstance, rare at this stage in our fight, is a victory!! If none of the candidates meet the standard, we will assess them both as pro-corruption and not make an endorsement - again leaving it up to voters to support whomever is better on other issues to them.