It’s Feel Good Friday and midterm elections for the U.S. Congress are 109 days away. Is it too soon to talk about voting? Absolutely not. Let’s kick off this conversation with a post about Common Cause.
Founded in 1970 by former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, John Gardner, Common Cause is “a nonpartisan grassroots organization with 1.5 million members & supporters dedicated to building a strong democracy & holding power accountable.”
As they describe on their website, the work they do “leads and defines the democracy reform movement, promoting solutions already succeeding in some communities to shift power to the people and away from wealthy special interests and partisan ideologues.” Their most notable accomplishment was reforming the 26th Amendment, which legally changed the voting age from 21 to 18, giving more adults the right to vote. Common Cause has also influenced 17 states to adopt automatic voter registrations, including Colorado, Georgia, and Maryland. You can read about more victories and their impact at this link.
The campaigns led by Common Cause fall into one of six categories:
- Voting and elections – working to ensure that every eligible citizen has the freedom to vote and that their votes are accurately counted. Specifics include expanding vote-by-mail, modernizing voter registration and mobilizing election protection volunteers to help people cast their votes without obstruction, confusion, or intimidation.
- Gerrymandering and representation – helping the public play an active role in redistricting, fighting felony disenfranchisement, and demanding a fair and accurate Census.
- Ethics and accountability – holding politicians and judges accountable to strong ethical standards, so they serve the people instead of their own self interests.
- Money and influence – demanding transparency and accountability from big corporations and special interest lobbyists, empowering small-dollar donors to make an impact in campaigns and holding elected officials accountable to voters.
- Media and democracy – advocating for broadband access, net neutrality and freedom of the press.
- Constitution, courts and other democracy issues – advocating for the Freedom to Vote Act, petitioning to end the filibuster and demanding representation for the 700,000 people living in Washington D.C.
If you want to help Common Cause build a democracy that works for everyone, there are many ways to get involved. First, make sure you’re ready to vote! Check your registration, find your polling place or track your mail-in ballot with these voting tools.
Next, scroll to the bottom of this page to find a chapter in your state so you can participate at a local level. No matter where you are, you can volunteer to phonebank or write letters to the editor, make a donation, shop for merch, and spread the word far and wide. Follow Common Cause on Facebook, Twitter @CommonCause and Instagram @ourcommoncause.