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Political Reform

California Democrats believe that a healthy democracy is based on free and fair elections, with all eligible voters able to participate. Freedom to vote without obstruction and to have that vote counted are fundamental to voting rights. We oppose the culture of cronyism and corruption and support public financing of elections. We demand transparency and accountability from both our party and government. We will combat voter suppression and election subversion.

To promote honest leadership and open government, California Democrats will:

  • Actively work toward a fully educated citizenry, equal opportunity for influence, honest public debate, competitive elections, and robust civic participation in order to enhance the democratic process;
  • Actively work with county registrars, college and university administrators, and lawmakers to ensure that every college campus houses precinct polling operations, voter centers, or vote-by-mail (VBM) drop-off locations easily accessible to young voters;
  • Support lowering the voting age to 17 years of age and reinstatement of civics classes as a high school graduation requirement;
  • Support and encourage the implementation of legislation for full public financing of election campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels;
  • Support and encourage the implementation of full disclosure of all funding sources for political advertisements and ballot initiatives;
  • Work for increased voter participation by declaring Election Day a holiday;
  • Investigate and prosecute any and all forms of voter intimidation and election fraud, including misuse of social media to purposely mislead voters;
  • Demand transparency in voting: transparent voting system software (encourage the use of open-source software or at least disclosed-source); national and California standards for electronic voting machine certification; external, non- partisan, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-level certifying groups that publicly disclose testing results; reliable voter-verifiable systems with a paper ballot as the ballot of record; robust auditing procedures, such as risk-limiting audits of all types of ballots cast, including vote-by-mail ballots and validated provisional ballots; and, updated and thorough chain-of-custody and recount procedures;
  • Encourage a ban on any and all forms of Internet or wireless voting, and prohibition of any connection from the Internet to any component of any election, vote-counting, or tabulating system;
  • Support continued safeguards necessary to maintain the transparency of our elections by prohibiting voting machine vendors from making political contributions; prohibiting election officials and candidates from becoming employees of voting machine businesses; requiring voting machine businesses to disclose any officers, directors, owners, and parent entities; and, requiring any individual affiliated with the business to pass a criminal background check comparable to standards of the California Contractors State License Board;
  • Support the ability of local communities to choose alternative voting systems, such as ranked-choice voting and instant-runoff voting;
  • Encourage candidates not to concede until the majority of ballots are counted and the outcome of the election is statistically impossible to overcome;
  • End the doctrine of corporate persons and the idea that money is speech by actively working to overturn the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission;
  • Demand transparency and implementation of accountability measures for all levels of the government and the Democratic Party, including federal, state, and local governments;
  • Support and defend voter protection under the federal Voting Rights Act and the California Voting Rights Act, including supporting voter outreach and education efforts, especially for young voters and underserved communities, and working to restore Voting Rights Act provisions requiring federal pre-clearance for changes to local and state voting laws and policies;
  • Demand abolishing the Electoral College and support its replacement with a national popular vote;
  • Encourage the placement of polling sites in tribal communities with large populations on reservations and surrounding areas, including urban American Indian communities;
  • Demand the end of “pay-to-play” politics by banning lobbyists from bundling sizable campaign donations, and work to close the “revolving door” of legislator to lobbyist politics;
  • Encourage the replacement of at-large election methods with the adoption of by-district and/or alternative voting methods when it maintains the spirit of the California Voting Rights Act, such as ranked choice voting, cumulative voting, or limited voting for city, school, and special district elections to ensure that the votes of diverse communities are not diluted and to ensure that grassroots candidates and compete without needing to raise prohibitively large sums of money;
  • Encourage the use of independent redistricting commissions to draw districts;
  • Support simple majority voter thresholds for passage of revenue raising measures;
  • Support transparency measures relating to county budgets and accounting systems so that residents in unincorporated areas may better advocate for their communities’ municipal needs; and,
  • Support and expand self-governance for the estimated 6,000,000 Californians who live in unincorporated areas without local municipal decision-making.


join us for the 2024 Democratic National Convention

California Democrats will send 496 delegates and 35 Alternates to the Democratic National Convention in 2024. Learn more how you can get involved!