November 7, 2018
For Immediate Release
Myke Bybee, Campaign Director
Statement from Wendy Fields and the Democracy Initiative
Washington, D.C. (Nov. 7, 2018) - Today we celebrate with the millions of hardworking Democracy Initiative partners who came together across the country to strengthen voting rights, increase fair representation, and to restore the checks and balances our nation was founded upon. The Democracy Initiative is proud to stand with our many partners who worked across race, class and gender lines. Union members, environmentalists, civil rights activists, and progressives who knocked doors, made millions of phone calls, and stood in long lines to vote.
As we reflect on this electoral cycle and look to what lies ahead, we know democracy work is the great unifier; and it is the North Star by which we must navigate troubled times. After two years of an administration fomenting discord and bigotry, and months of voter suppression efforts, democracy has brought us together. And our resolve is stronger than ever to say the people of this nation are better than hate-filled rhetoric and too smart to fall for fear-mongering lies.
Pro-democracy reforms are grassroots driven, transformative, and will help secure concrete improvements in the lives of all Americans for years to come. During a divisive election cycle, the desire for a strong and healthy democracy unified people across the country. Unprecedented levels of early voting proved that people will seize the chance to make their voices heard when states make it possible for them to do so. And in states all over our nation, voters refused to let their rights be trampled or curtailed.
Our coalition won six ballot initiatives, in four states, handily. Voters overwhelmingly supported them, showing their keen desire for a fairer system where their voices can be heard.
- In Florida, Amendment 4 restored the right to vote to 1.4 million people with prior felony convictions.
- In Maryland, Question 2 established statewide election registration, and in Baltimore City, Question H set up a Fair Elections Fund, which will be used to create a public financing small donor match program for some city candidates.
- In Michigan, Proposal 2 will create a transparent process for drawing voting maps, and limiting gerrymandering. Proposal 3 will safeguard elections and make voting more accessible for Michiganders from all walks of life.
- In Missouri, Amendment 1 will increase transparency, lower campaign contribution limits, and eliminate most gifts from lobbyists to politicians, and gave citizens the tools to challenge unfair voting maps.
As we move forward boldly, we must remain laser-focused on the values that unite us: support for clean air, clean water, safe streets and a fair justice system, for wages that sustain families and allow them to build better lives for the generation to come. Now is the time to dig deeper, lean in harder, and channel our energy more than ever before. In 2019 and 2020, nothing short of large-scale reform in every state legislature will bring us an inclusive, 21st century democracy; one in which every eligible voter can cast a ballot, and every vote will be counted; where corporate money plays a reduced role in campaign finances; and all Americans can trust that they are being fairly represented.