TAKE IT BACK FOR CALIFORNIANS:

 

Publicly fund elections

Make running for office easy

Create legislative oversight & accessibility

Strengthening Communities' Access

to Elections and Legislation

The

Problem

We know the system's fucked. The candidate who spends the most money in an election is the most likely to win. Spending makes the biggest difference in local and state races. As races become more expensive, fewer people run and those who do tend to be independently wealthy. And a majority of Americans want limits on campaign spending.

Here in California, we've kneecapped our ability to elect local, less well-financed representatives to the Legislature by imposing term limits, which creates incentives for candidates to spend big on their first election and then coast on their incumbent advantage for their remaining terms. By limiting Assemblymembers to three terms (six years), we favor candidates who already have clout, financing, and institutional experience, rather than elevating people who represent our communities and giving them the opportunity to learn to govern. And in an Assemblymember's or Senator's final term, they can no longer be held accountable to voters in the upcoming election.

Not only that, but our electoral process is inaccessible to most people by design. Neither the California Secretary of State nor local agencies clearly lay out the steps for running for office at any level, and attempting to contact either for clarification often results in confusion and misdirection of resources for people who are new to the process. From things as simple as an unfriendly user interface on the Secretary of State’s website, to the legalese that the information is written in, to the fees, costs, and extensive paperwork associated with a campaign, running for office disadvantages most people versus those who’ve chosen to pursue a career in politics.

And even once elected, our legislative processes are no different. Legislation is a specialized job, rather than the right and responsibility of engaged and informed citizens. Crafting legislation is the purview of the folks in Sacramento, not the people in the communities most directly affected by those folks’ decisions. Whether a bill lives or dies or is vetoed by the Governor, legislation is made at the discretion of 121 people in a state of 40 million. 

Our state is home to 1 in 8 Americans, the fifth highest GDP in the world, and the most billionaires of any state. At the same time, we have the highest levels of poverty and inequality, “the most billionaires” means 163 people, and those 163 people pay to get many of our legislators elected. We have one Assemblymember for every 500,000 Californians.

The system is designed to keep us out, but our democracy is supposed to belong to us. It’s time to end minority rule of our state government.

Take It Back For Californians

  • Publicly fund all California elections:

    • At minimum, mandatory for all candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Senate candidates, and State Assembly candidates

    • Includes access to the public election fund (with spending caps) for local races and judicial races

    • Establish a minimum number of in-district individual small dollar donations to secure a candidate's access to the ballot and to the public election fund

  • Establish statewide ranked-choice voting for all offices

  • Require candidates to disclose directly on their websites donors to their candidate committees as well as independent expenditures supporting them/opposing their opponents,  grouped by in-district/out-of-district status and donor type (individual, PAC, business, union, 501(c)(4), etc.)

  • Cap independent expenditures

  • Lower the campaign donation maximum to $1,000 per individual for all races

  • Support AB-177 to establish Election Day as a holiday

  • Support ACA-8 to lower the voting age to 17

The

Platform

TAKE IT BACK: ELECTIONS

  • Streamline the process of running for office to make it accessible, Do-It-Yourself, and user-friendly

  • Reduce or eliminate the filing fee for eligible low-income individuals

  • Replace in-lieu of signature gathering for ballot access with public election fund small donation requirements

  • Create online and in-person public education programs in all counties to teach individuals how to run for office, how to manage a campaign (including election finance), and how to create and run a committee

  • Eliminate term limits in the Legislature, contingent upon the implementation of all other accessibility measures

  • Increase representation by creating more and smaller legislative districts

TAKE IT BACK: REPRESENTATION

  • Establish two citizen oversight committees for every bill coming out of the Legislature and give them teeth:

    • Independent, non-partisan committee of experts in the field the bill addresses

    • A committee of representatives chosen by vulnerable and marginalized stakeholders in every issue the bill addresses, as self-determined by those communities (rather than the state)

  • All bills are required to have plain language versions available in multiple languages made available online concurrently with the bill text

  • Create public education programs in all counties for all bills introduced in the Legislature:

    • Includes public information sessions that reflect the logistical needs of parents, working people, English as a Second Language (ESL) folks, the elderly, unhoused people, disabled folks, and people who have to commute.

    • Includes abundant opportunities to provide feedback to and meaningfully engage with representatives

TAKE IT BACK: DECISION MAKING