Texas Democrats believe the rights to vote, to participate in civic affairs, and to self-determination are inalienable and fundamental to a healthy and functioning representative democracy, especially in times of pandemic or other crises that threaten these foundations. Elections must be made secure and free of any and all encumbrances. Openness, accountability, and high ethical standards for elected officials and government agencies are paramount to ensure a level playing field and a government that is responsive to the needs of its citizens.
The Texas Democratic Party supports policies and programs that:
- Eliminate barriers to voting and encourage full participation in elections and governance;
- Limit the pervading influence of money in politics and ensure a level playing field; and
- Promote transparency, accountability, and ethics in public life and all levels of government.
Voting Rights and Fair Elections
- Recognize November’s Election Day as a state and federal holiday;
- Combine local, state, and federal elections to minimize how often voters have to go to the polls each year;
- Develop robust and continuous voter education and outreach programs, especially for youth, communities of color, voters with disabilities, and other underserved populations;
- Increase access to the ballot through same-day registration, online registration, adherence to federal “Motor Voter” laws, the repeal of voter registrar deputization requirements, automatic registration for eligible Texans aged 17 years and 10 months or older, and sending vote by mail applications to Texans on their 65th birthdays;
- Implement countywide vote centers, extended and accessible early voting periods, curbside voting, and universal, no-excuse vote by mail, especially to protect the most vulnerable in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Provide funding, supplies, and a clear plan to county election officials to ensure voter safety is prioritized;
- Reinstate mobile voting so counties can better ensure rural voters, students, and seniors have access to the ballot;
- Remove the undue burdens on students by placing polling locations at all institutions of postsecondary education;
- Allow Texans who will turn 18 by Election Day to participate in the preceding Primary Elections;
- Ensure voters with disabilities have equal access to the ballot via accessible polling places and accommodations, curbside voting, and accessible vote by mail, with poll workers trained in the law, procedures, and equipment use;
- Repeal the highly restrictive and discriminatory Texas Photo Voter ID law;
- Protect voting rights by enforcing the Texas Voting Rights Act and the federal Voting Rights Act with restored preclearance provisions;
- Incorporate paper back-ups and an auditable paper trail into voting systems;
- Provide education on, and work towards implementation of, ranked choice voting in order to further promote strong democratic ideals and provide more choice to Texans across the state;
- End racial and political gerrymandering by creating a nonpartisan redistricting commission; and
- Support the elimination of the Electoral College and join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, and until the compact is effective, proportionally award Texas’s presidential electoral votes based on the U.S Presidential results within the state.
Campaign Finance Reform
- Overturn the decisions in Buckley v. Valeo and Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission;
- Move towards transparent public financing of campaigns and elections;
- Disclose the funding sources for all political advertisements in a readily accessible manner, including for candidate campaigns, ballot measures, independent expenditures, and issue advocacy;
- Require candidates and elected officials throughout the state, including local or county officials, to file an annual Personal Financial Statement and disclose their donors’ employment;
- Reinstate the federal Public Service and Equal Time requirements; and
- Mandate every federal candidate disclose their complete federal tax return and, upon election, place any private holdings in a blind trust for divestment.
Ethics and Transparency in Government
- Empower state employees and government agencies to do their job free of partisan influences;
- Ensure political considerations have no bearing on contract procurement or the use of public funds;
- Guarantee that Texas officials do not exploit public funds to pay for personal or political activities;
- Eliminate the abuse of personal leave policies and bonuses by state officials and agencies;
- Force elected officials to recuse themselves from discussion and voting on legislation that would directly financially benefit themselves or their families;
- Establish an office of an independent prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any state-wide elected or appointed official who is accused of unlawful conduct; and
- Protect civil service from partisan abuses and safeguard whistleblowers in government agencies.