CA small business owners raise alarm about need to protect democracy

Press Release
October 25, 2022

Frank Knapp

CA small business owners raise alarm about need
to protect democracy

Recognize U.S. House candidates for their support of Congressional reforms

San Francisco, CA
—Today the California Business for Democracy collaborative announced the results of it survey of Congressional candidates running in 10 California districts on the issue of protecting democracy.

The collaborative has been raising the small business voice that a strong democracy is essential for a vibrant entrepreneurial economy.  Elevating the issue to be one that voters would consider as important and informing the voters as to which Congressional candidates support protecting democracy are goals of the collaborative.

To assess the commitment of the candidates running for Congress in the targeted districts (3, 9, 13, 22, 40, 41, 45, 47, and 49), the Business for Democracy collaborative conducted a survey.  All Congressional candidates in these districts were asked if they would support three Congressional reform bills that would provide firm and stable support for America’s democracy—the Electoral Count Reform Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and Freedom to Vote Act (see below for details of each Act).

Here are the California U.S. House candidates in these districts who completed the short survey and indicated that they would support each of these bills.

Kermit Jones (CD 3)
Jay Chen (CD 45)
Rep. Katie Porter (CD 47)

“California voters need to be concerned about where our candidates for Congress stand on protecting democracy and about protecting democracy in other states. Our representatives in Washington will help decide the fate of voting rights and democracy for every state as will the representatives from other states. Allowing democracy to fail at state levels, will cause it to fail at the national level and policies in Washington will no longer be influenced by the will of the people.  Instead, policies will be decided by politicians interested in power and money. As someone who works for a statewide nonprofit that helps small businesses start and succeed, I am concerned about what happens to our local economies if our democracy turns into an autocracy,” said Heidi Pickman, Vice President of Engagement and External Relations at CAMEO, California Association for Micro Enterprises.

“I run a small company that does international political forecasting. Through my work I’ve seen how democracy has been undermined in countries like Hungary and Turkey, and how the same trends are beginning in the U.S. today. Like the future that Ebenezer Scrooge saw in A Christmas Carol, the loss of our democracy is a future that need not happen, but it will happen unless our country changes its trajectory,” said Alan Thiesen, Owner at Sherlock Geopolitical Forecasting.

California is one of eight states that have built Business for Democracy collaboratives.

Business for Democracy is a campaign of the American Sustainable Business Network.

Voting Reforms Needed to Protect Democracy and
Our Economy

The aftermath of the 2020 Presidential election shows how critical voting reform is needed to guarantee free, fair, and secure elections that will not only ensure that the will of the voters is honored but that our vibrant, entrepreneurial economy will continue.

Congress must pass three pieces of legislation either before this November’s election or in 2023.  These bills form the three-legged stool providing firm and stable support for our democracy.

Electoral Count Reform Act of 2022.  This 1887 law governing Congressional procedures for how state electoral votes for president and vice president are cast and counted should be reformed to update the vague and outdated language.  The Act needs to be reformed by Congress to confront electoral subversion at both the state and federal levels by helping ensure that partisan politicians cannot substitute their own preferences for the judgment of the American people in presidential elections.  This bipartisan bill has 11 Republican and 10 Democrat co-sponsors and is supported by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.  This bill would modernize and revitalize the Voting Rights Act of 1965, strengthening legal protections against discriminatory voting policies and practices, guaranteeing equal access to the ballot.

The Freedom to Vote Act.  The bill improves access to the ballot for Americans, advances commonsense election integrity reforms, and protects our democracy from emerging threats. Importantly, this proposal reflects feedback from state and local election officials to ensure that the people responsible for implementing these reforms are able to do so effectively. This bill also elevates the voices of American voters by ending partisan gerrymandering and rooting out the undue influence of special interest money in our politics.


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