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Last fall We the People overwhelmingly voted for change, electing a historically diverse and representative class of Congress that promised to clean up Washington, DC in the midst of a historically corrupt administration. …

Democracy is on the ballot in 2018 — and voter’s voices will be what makes difference.

Video by for Common Cause

The 2018 election is extremely important for the future of our democracy. In just the last decade, our nation’s great experiment in self-governance has been challenged with limitations on voting rights (as the Supreme Court struck down key parts of the Voting Rights Act, and congress refuses to update this landmark civil rights legislation), rampant gerrymandering of congressional districts, and the evisceration of most rules preventing the influence of special interest money in politics (particularly after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision).

Congress is key to protecting, and advancing, our democracy and voters must know what their Congressional candidates will do if elected. Public comments, candidate website information and media coverage of their campaigns are one thing, but direct statements from candidates, with yes or no answers to specific questions cuts through the static and cannot be misinterpreted or spun.

That’s why voters should expect every candidate for Congress to tell voters how they will defend and strengthen American democracy. To help voters get those answers, we’ve sent a survey to every candidate for U.S. Congress asking: if elected, will you promote, advocate and champion key reforms that strengthen democracy? These key reforms will get big money out of politics, protect and expand voting rights, and ensure all elected officials are held to high ethics standards.

More than 250 candidates have already gone on the record — Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians, incumbents and challengers alike. To those that have told their voters where they stand on key democracy reforms, we thank you for being transparent and clear with the voters in your district. And for those candidates that haven’t yet responded, what are you waiting for? Democracy is not a partisan issue. Huge majorities of voters — across the ideological and partisan divide — support reforms that get big special interest money out of politics, increase the transparency by showing who is funding TV and digital ads, and want to see voting rights protected.

Fittingly, as the ultimate power in a democracy rests with the people, it will be the voice of the voters that will make sure candidates go on the record. On our survey website at we list candidates that have responded to the questionnaire — their answers and any additional comments they made — and those who have remained silent. Voters can type in their address to get a list of their candidates — and their candidates answers. …

I’ve had the occasion to speak with a number of nonprofit news organizations recently on the subject of how they can raise more money and build stronger engagement through digital channels. Individual donors (some call them members) are critical to many nonprofits and digital strategies (particularly email) is an opportunity to grow that stable base of individual donors. Nonprofit news organizations through Shorenstein Center, Membership Puzzle, News Hub and others are working on this, and I’m proud to (in my own small way) support their efforts.

Here then, are a few additional provocations that (hopefully!) …


Jesse Littlewood

Campaigner, digital strategist, redhead. Campaigns & Digital w/ Common Cause (; former Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School & Tufts

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