While most of our attention is focused on the races for president and Congress, in many ways state initiatives may have a larger impact on our day-to-day lives. And at a time when very little is getting done at the federal level, state ballot measures are an opportunity for voters to make meaningful change and help improve the state of our republic.
In partnership with nonpartisan organizations across the country, Business for America through our 501(c)(4) endorses state and local ballot measures that align with the business community’s priorities to protect voter rights, ensure election integrity, and overcome political polarization in order to strengthen representative democracy.
Across the country, Americans will be deciding on a number of ballot measures that improve voter security, access, and choice — which we think is good for voters AND for business. Here are three worth watching.
Alaska | Ballot Measure 2
What it does: Improves transparency of political contributions (donations, contributions, dues, or gifts) over $2000 by disclosing the true source of those contributions. Introduces an open top-four primary system for state executive, state legislative, and congressional offices. Introduces ranked-choice voting for general elections, including the presidential election.
Why we like it: Improving transparency in political contributions helps inform voters of who’s seeking to influence policy outcomes and reduce political corruption that can damage local economies. Nonpartisan primaries help reduce polarization and partisanship by ensuring the candidates on the ballot represent the issues that matter to the broader electorate, and not just the extremes of one party.
Finally, ranked-choice voting provides other important benefits including cutting costs of run-off elections, decreasing polarization, improving civility, and ensuring those who win really represent the majority of voters.
California | Proposition 17
What it does: Restores the right to vote to those who are on parole for felony convictions.
Why we like it: Formerly incarcerated persons are denied one of the basic fundamental rights guaranteed to citizens of the U.S. if they are prohibited from voting. Research shows that restoring voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals can help to enhance successful reentry by providing a sense of ownership in their community and increasing trust in government and cooperation with law enforcement. As a result, Proposition 17 may reduce future crime and recidivism, thereby increasing public safety.
Nevada | Question 4
What it does: Adds the state’s declaration of voters’ rights to the Nevada Constitution.
Why we like it: By enshrining existing statutes in the Constitution, voters will be assured that no matter how the political winds may blow, there are constitutional guarantees against any attempts to diminish voting rights. Anything that strengthens a voter’s ability to cast their vote safely and securely is a good thing for citizens and for businesses. Nevada voters will be assured that they can vote if they’re in line when the polls close, receive replacement ballots if theirs are spoiled, and have election complaints resolved “fairly, accurately and efficiently,” among other protections.
Business for America has mobilized companies to play a critical role in supporting fair and accessible elections in 2020 by launching Operation Vote Safe, advocating for full election funding, and promoting the Time to Vote initiative. Not only is it the right thing to do; supporting voting rights and encouraging employee civic engagement results in greater employee and customer loyalty.
If you would like to know more about corporate civic engagement and how your business can help ensure your employees and community have a voice on Election Day, please contact us.