I strongly believe the influence of corporations and wealthy donors on our elections is out of control. The only way to take back our elections and ensure a truly fair and open process is to expand public financing. We should work to move toward a system of electing our leaders that is completely free of outside influences.
In the meantime, our campaign finance laws took a step backward in a number of ways thanks to recent legislation; in many cases, limits were actually increased. No real action was taken to stem the tide of corporate money flooding our elections. This is unacceptable. At the very least, Vermont should join the seventeen other states — and the Federal government — in banning direct corporate contributions.
In addition to addressing campaign finance issues, Vermont must continue to lead on making voting easier and more accessible. Allowing online voter registration was a great first step, but it is definitely time for same day registration. We should also look at what works to increase participation and turnout in other states and countries, such as making Election Day a state holiday or even moving to a mail-in voting system, as Oregon has done.