What’s at Stake in 2020: Democracy

by Jonathan Butler

November 2, 2020

When Congress returns in 2021, we can start with passing bold democracy reforms like HR 1. But first, we have to elect new leaders.

Democracy Awakening

Activist holds a sign reading "Claim Your Democracy" in front of the U.S. Capitol building during the Democracy Awakening march on April 18.

Our elections are in desperate need of reform, there’s no question: most of us believe that for democracy to work for all of us, it must include us all. But a powerful few have made voting deliberately difficult for people based on what we look like or where we live so they can continue to govern only for the wealthiest few. And right now, your vote could change all of that.

What makes these attacks on democracy especially insidious is that the bulk of the barriers to voting are happening in majority Black, Brown, and low-income communities whose voices are being silenced. This is in line with centuries of our government maintaining white supremacy above human rights, and it has got to go.

I Voted

But progressives are ready to pass HR 1 — and help ensure everyone can vote. With new leadership, with your vote, with new representation at the state, local, and national levels, we can protect and strengthen our democracy so that it works for everyone. Whether we are Black, white, Indigenous, immigrant, Latinx, or Asian, we know that for democracy to work for all of us, it must include us all. When Congress returns in 2021, we can start with passing HR 1. But first, we have to elect new leaders. Make sure you’re set to vote, and share this link with your friends.

make a plan to vote

We need the next president to be a champion of democracy on day one.

The For the People Act, passed by the House of Representatives as HR 1 in 2019 and cosponsored by all Senate Democrats, is a once-in-a-generation democracy reform package to clean up our political system, by:

  • Expanding access to the ballot and protecting voting rights, including making nation-wide voter registration automatic.
  • Ending gerrymandering, preventing politicians from picking their voters, so that electoral districts are fairly drawn.
  • Mandating commonsense disclosure of political spending by the government and holding elected officials to the highest ethical standards.
  • Other needed reforms to strengthen our democracy and restore power to the people.

Money Out, Voters In

Everything, from expanding and protecting voting rights to campaign finance reform that can help get fossil fuel money out of politics is at stake. Now more than ever we must create a democracy that ensures everyone can have their voices heard, and the next president must be a champion for doing so.

  1. Make a plan to vote right now
  2. Tell the administration day 1 is for democracy by signing this petition

The truth is that a green and peaceful future won’t happen without structural reforms that prevent the government from serving corporate wealth interests.

The best way to make all of this a reality is to vote. This is the ultimate route to voter liberation on the path to putting people before the profits of the wealthy. We are demanding people-centered legislation within the first 100 days of the election – and this is why it’s crucial for you to cast your ballot to make sure we elect leaders we can pressure to pass bold reforms like For the People Act.

If you’ve already voted, it’s crucial you use your voice to advocate for others to be able to do the same, without barriers, without stress, without the hand of corporate profiteers driving the course of political elections.

Our movement won’t allow wealthy elites like Charles Koch to spend billions on political candidates. This corruption in our electoral system is becoming even more prevalent each decade, check out our KingPins of Carbon report to learn more.

How do we win? Hundreds of Congressional members signed on to endorse the most progressive shift in our democratic strategy: HR 1, For The People Act. And a ton of groups like Democracy Initiative, Common Cause, League of Conservation Voters (LCV), Public Citizen, and more 160+ groups of the Declaration for American Democracy coalition are pushing for it to be a top priority for the next administration. Together, we can win real change.

It starts with your vote and your voice to tell the next administration to take the next step toward bold democracy reform – pass HR1, the For the People Act, as the first order of business.

We are so close to winning sweeping electoral reforms and a brighter future for democracy.

make a plan to vote

As the deadline for voting approaches, we’re pulling out all the stops to make sure that you, your friends, family, neighbors, and every environmental voter has their voice heard before the polls close. Our “What’s at Stake” series highlights a key issue that’s on the ballot. If you haven’t voted yet, now is the time. If people in your circle are on the fence, please share this post or have a conversation with them today.

By Jonathan Butler

Jonathan Butler (they/them pronouns) is the Democracy Campaigner for the Democracy, Peace, and Justice team at Greenpeace USA. They work on a range of issues from climate justice and the right to dissent, to money in politics and voting rights in order to empower people to protect our planet.

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.