Indiana - Our Democracy 2020
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Money and Campaigns

Strengthen Disclosure Requirements

Hoosiers across the political spectrum support strong disclosure laws that allow us to know who is funding secret money political groups and campaigns.

These groups and their “dark money” are a big problem in Indiana, where they now account for more than a third of all political money spent.

These groups don’t disclose the source of their funds, hiding critical information from voters about who is behind the advertising and what interests are backing which candidates.

Hoosiers deserve strong transparency laws that give us full and complete information about who is spending money to elect candidates to our state legislature.

Amplify Small Donors

Elected officials must be responsive to the needs and priorities of all of their constituents, not just big donors and wealthy special interests. We need a new alternative to funding political campaigns in Indiana that amplifies the voices of ordinary Hoosiers and breaks down barriers that prevent everyday citizens from running for office.

Indiana should implement a voluntary system, similar to the Connecticut Citizen Election Program, to provide public matching funds to candidates who agree to limit their campaign spending and raise money in small, individual donations. Citizen-funded election systems bring a number of benefits, including:

  • More ordinary people are able to run for office
  • Candidates spend more time listening to and meeting their constituents, instead of raising big money from a handful of wealthy donors or special interests
  • Elected officials are less indebted to a narrow set of big money donors and are more accountable to all voters
  • Elected officials are more reflective of the community at large

Expand Voting Rights and Election Integrity

Automatic Voter Registration

Indiana’s voter registration and voter turnout statistics are nothing to brag about – we are too often toward the bottom, not the top, when compared to other states.

In 2014, Indiana had the dubious distinction of the having the lowest voter turnout in the country. We need to make common sense updates so more eligible Hoosiers can register, vote and have their voices heard.

Several states, with bipartisan support, have implemented automatic voter registration systems (AVR).

AVR is the best way to ensure that all eligible citizens are able to cast ballots and provides a way for those who don’t want to participate to opt out.    AVR will also help update the voter rolls and keep them current.

"No Excuse" Absentee Voting

Unlike voters in most states, Hoosier voters who want to cast an early ballot by mail have to provide a reason when they apply for their absentee ballot – and convenience isn’t one of categories allowed by the law.

Absentee voting by mail shouldn’t be restricted to only the homebound or those out of state – it should be available to anyone who wants to cast their ballot that way.

Election Day Registration

The deadline to register to vote occurs almost a month before Election Day.  Too many voters realize an election is coming up and try to register in the weeks before Election Day, only to find out it’s too late.

Now that we have a statewide database of voters, the best way to ensure that no one is disenfranchised because of administrative barriers is to implement a system where voters can go to their polling place on Election Day, register and vote.  Minnesota, which has long had the highest voter turnout in the country, has had Election Day registration in place for many years, without any problems.

Secure Our Elections

Indiana polling places are open from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., making our state’s voting hours among the shortest in the nation.  Extending polling place hours until 6 p.m. will make it easier for working people and students to get to the polling place after they fulfill work, child care and school responsibilities

Ensure Fair Districts and a Representative Democracy

Independent Redistricting

We believe that Hoosiers should pick their politicians, politicians shouldn’t be allowed to pick their voters through partisan gerrymandering.

When politicians manipulate voting maps to keep their party in power, the result is dysfunction, polarization, mistrust, cynicism and public policies that don’t reflect the will of the people.

Hoosiers are ready for a fair and transparent redistricting process that removes the conflict of interest that happen when politicians control redistricting.

Legislative Ethics and Lobbying Reform

Lobbying Transparency

Limit Lobbyist Gifts

More than a thousand registered lobbyists spend millions of dollars to influence the Indiana General Assembly every year and there are no limits on the gifts and perks that lobbyists lavish on our lawmakers.

To make matters worse, we don’t get any information about this spending until after the legislative session is over.  Lobbying disclosure is an effective regulatory tool only if it is timely, and in Indiana, this disclosure come too late.  And, there should be an annual limit on the value of what lobbyists can give to legislators.