Our democracy is based on the fundamental principle that all Americans have an equal voice in their government: one person, one vote. But today, due to a series of Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United, a tiny handful of ultra-wealthy donors have an outsized influence on our political system—tipping the scales of democracy away from everyday voters with their checkbooks.
We have to restore the voice of the people, which is why I will continue to fight for a constitutional amendment to repeal the Citizens United decision and fully protect voters’ First Amendment rights. I strongly support public funding of federal campaigns. I am a proud original cosponsor of the Fair Elections Now Act, which would establish a system of public campaign financing like the one we have in Connecticut for state-level elections. Candidates should be able to seek political office without having to turn to big donors, powerful corporations, and lobbyists for funding. I’m also a supporter of the For The People Act – legislation that has already passed the House to end big money in politics, restore ethics in Washington, and protect the right to vote.
The concept of “one person, one vote” has also been threatened by attempts to infringe on voting rights. States across the country have passed voter ID laws, made cuts to early voting and eliminated same-day registration. I‘ll continue to work to ensure that voters across the country, no matter their color or creed, can freely exercise one of our most basic constitutional rights.
Finally, the COVID pandemic has made it even more urgent that we give every American more flexibility in casting their vote—including the ability to vote by mail. I applaud the State of Connecticut for instituting a vote-by-mail system, and I’ve joined my colleagues in the Senate in supporting the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act, which would expand early in-person voting and no-excuse absentee vote-by-mail to all states.
Too many citizens today feel like they have lost control of their government. I believe we need fundamental election reform in order to make sure that our democracy is truly representative of the people we serve. After the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, it’s clear that American democracy is more fragile than many of us want to believe. I’m working with a bipartisan group of senators on legislation to reform the antiquated Electoral Count Act of 1887 and guard against future attempts to overturn the results of a presidential election with fraudulent electoral slates.