Cynthia McKinney on Government Reform
Green Party nominee for President (Former Rep., D, GA-4)
Called for impeachment of Bush & Cheney
Q: One of your last acts in Congress was to call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. It was not only the Republican Party that you criticized, but it was your own leadership in the Democratic Party.
Can you talk about their response to your call?
A: We’ve seen what happened with Dennis Kucinich’s bill for the impeachment of Dick Cheney. He had mentioned that he was also going to introduce articles of impeachment against Bush.
It was quite a disappointment for our Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to take impeachment off the table. It is somewhat interesting to watch the dance now that Democrats are making around this issue.
Q: Why do you think they’re doing that?
Well, I mean, they would have to provide an explanation. And one of the explanations that’s been given is that it would be very difficult to defend the action on FOX News. So, I don’t believe that FOX News ought to be setting the agenda for the Congress.
Source: Democracy Now interview with Amy Goodman
Feb 4, 2008
Long been a supporter of publicly financed elections
Q: Briefly state your position on the following issues: Election Reform, including Public Financing.
A: I sponsored the Voter Choice Act in Congress, which would have provided for the use of ranked choice voting in Congressional elections.
I fought to defend and reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. I have long been a supporter of publicly financed elections. I have advocated same-day voter registration. I voted in opposition to requiring photo ID for voting in federal elections.
Source: Green Party 2008 Presidential Candidate Questionnaire
Feb 3, 2008
End privately-owned and party-run voting machines
Reconstruction Party Manifesto point #1. We Want Freedom Now!
We want the power to determine our destiny. We want an electoral system that allows true representation and that ensures that all votes are counted.
We believe that free and fair elections are not possible in the current climate in which electronic voting machines, special interest money, corporate control of the two-party system predominate. In the 2000 Presidential election, an estimated
6 million votes cast were not counted, reflecting a crisis in our voting system and a concrete denial of self-determination.
We need to eliminate privately owned electronic voting machines and every machine that does not provide a paper ballot. We must
never again allow political parties to control the hardware on which official votes are counted (as in Ohio 2004). Voters should never again be told that election results belong to a private company & are not accessible by the public (as in Georgia 2007)
Source: Manifesto for a Reconstruction Party
Jan 26, 2008
Do better on gov’t contracting for small & minority business
The contracting practices of the Bush Administration are shameful for the appearance of corruption and their treatment of small businesses, especially minority business owners. The evidence is clear that the federal government must do better.
McKinney launched a business advisory committee for the purpose of helping the federal government become more responsive to the needs of small business owners. Small and minority business owners across the country have taken an interest.
Source: Campaign website, www.cynthiaforcongress.com, “Issues”
Dec 20, 2007
Proposed proportional or instant runoff voting for Congress
McKinney introduced the following bill in the 109th Congress: H.R.2690: Voter Choice Act of 2005
Authorizes a state entitled to more than one Representative in Congress to establish a number of districts for election of Representatives that is less tha
the number of Representatives to which the state is entitled, as long as the Representatives are elected:
Establishes a program under which the Election Assistance Commission shall make grants to eligible states to defray the costs of administering an instant runoff voting system or a proportional voting system
Source: Campaign website, www.cynthiaforcongress.com, “Legislation”
Nov 1, 2006
- under a system meeting the constitutional standard of majority rule and of individuals having equal voting power;
- the system ensures the
election of any candidate in a multiseat district who receives a share of votes cast that is at least one vote greater than one-third of the total number of votes cast in the district; and
- the number of residents per Representative is equal for all
Representatives elected in the state.
Voted NO on requiring photo ID for voting in federal elections.
Requires that to vote in federal elections, an individual present a government-issued, current, and valid photo identification. After 2010, that ID must require providing proof of US citizenship as a condition for issuance. An individual who does not present such an ID is permitted to cast a provisional ballot, and then present the required ID within 48 hours. Exempts from this requirement the absentee ballot of any eligible overseas military voter on active duty overseas.
Proponents support voting YES because:
The election system is the bedrock that our Republic is built on and its security and oversight is of paramount concern. Only US citizens have the right to vote in Federal elections, but our current system does not give State election officials the tools they need to ensure that this requirement is being met.
This bill is designed to increase participation by ensuring that each legitimate vote will be counted and not be diluted by fraud. There are many elections
in this country every cycle that are decided by just a handful of votes. How can we be certain that these elections, without measures to certify the identity of voters, are not being decided by fraudulent votes?
Opponents support voting NO because:
There is something we can all agree on: only Americans get to vote, and they only get to vote once. But what we are talking about in this bill is disenfranchising many of those Americans. It is already a felony for a non-American to vote. We had hearings and what we found out was that the issue of illegal aliens voting basically does not occur.
The impact of this will disproportionately affect poor people and African Americans, because many are too poor to have a car and they do not have a license. We have no evidence there is a problem. We have ample evidence that this will disenfranchise many Americans. This is the measure to disenfranchise African Americans, Native Americans. It is wrong and we will not stand for it.
Reference: Federal Election Integrity Act;
Bill H R 4844
; vote number 2006-459
on Sep 20, 2006
Voted NO on restricting independent grassroots political committees.
A "527 organization" is a political committee which spends money raised independently of any candidate's campaign committee, in support or opposition of a candidate or in support or opposition of an issue. Well-known examples include MoveOn.org (anti-Bush) and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (anti-Kerry). Voting YES would regulate 527s as normal political committees, which would greatly restrict their funding, and hence would shift power to candidate committees and party committees. The bill's opponents say: This legislation singles out 527 organizations in an effort to undermine their fundraising and is a direct assault on free speech.This bill would obstruct the efforts of grassroots organizations while doing nothing to address the culture of corruption in Congress.H.R. 513 is an unbalanced measure that favors corporate trade associations over independent advocates. Corporate interests could continue spending unlimited and undisclosed dollars for political purposes while independent
organizations would be subject to contribution limits and source restrictions.H.R. 513 also removes all limits on national and state party spending for Congressional candidates in primary or general elections--an unmasked attack on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and clear evidence that the true intention in advancing H.R. 513 is not reform, but partisan advantage in political fundraising.
The bill's proponents say:
Reference: Federal Election Campaign Act amendment "527 Reform Act";
; vote number 2006-088
on Apr 5, 2006
- 527s' primary purpose is to influence the election or defeat of a Federal candidate. They have to file with the FEC because after Watergate in 1974 this Congress passed a law that said if you are going to have a political committee whose primary purpose is to influence an election, then they have to register with the FEC.
- The FEC ignored 30 years of congressional actions and Supreme Court jurisprudence in allowing 527s to evade the law. In short, the FEC failed to do its job and regulate 527s as required under the Watergate statute.
Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits about obesity against food providers.
The Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act ("The Cheesburger Bill") would prevent civil liability actions against food manufacturers, marketers, distributors, advertisers, sellers, and trade associations for claims relating to a person's weight gain, obesity, or any health condition associated with weight gain or obesity. A YES vote would:
Reference: The Cheesburger Bill;
Bill HR 554
; vote number 2005-533
on Oct 19, 2005
- Prohibit such lawsuits in this act in federal or state courts
- Dismiss any pending lawsuits upon this bill's enactment
- Maintain an individual's right to bring a lawsuit to court for false marketing, advertising or labeling of food when such information led to injury, obesity or weight gain
Voted NO on limiting attorney's fees in class action lawsuits.
Class Action Fairness Act of 2005: Amends the Federal judicial code to specify the calculation of contingent and other attorney's fees in proposed class action settlements that provide for the award of coupons to class members. Allows class members to refuse compliance with settlement agreements or consent decrees absent notice. Prohibits a Federal district court from approving:
Reference: Bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley [R, IA];
; vote number 2005-038
on Feb 17, 2005
- a proposed coupon settlement absent a finding that the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate;
- a proposed settlement involving payments to class counsel that would result in a net monetary loss to class members, absent a finding that the loss is substantially outweighed by nonmonetary benefits; or
- a proposed settlement that provides greater sums to some class members solely because they are closer geographically to the court.
Voted NO on banning soft money donations to national political parties.
Support a ban on soft money donations to national political parties but allow up to $10,000 in soft-money donations to state and local parties for voter registration and get-out-the vote activity.
Bill HR 2356
; vote number 2001-228
on Jul 12, 2001
Voted YES on banning soft money and issue ads.
Campaign Finance Reform Act to ban "soft money" and impose restrictions on issue advocacy campaigning.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Shays, R-CT;
Bill HR 417
; vote number 1999-422
on Sep 14, 1999
Election reform is #1 priority to prevent disenfranchisement.
McKinney adopted the CBC principles:
Source: Congressional Black Caucus press release 01-CBC7 on Jan 6, 2001
- Election Reform is the CBC’s Number One Legislative Priority. What happened in Election 2000 is no way to elect the President – the most powerful position in the world. For the sake of our democracy, it is imperative that Election Reform be the top priority of every Member of Congress, and every American. As the world’s oldest and leading democracy, the outcome of our elections should never be in doubt. We must ensure that every vote cast is counted and that everyone who is eligible to vote is allowed to vote. Election reform is not a black issue or white issue, it is a red, white & blue issue. Voting is the most fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution and must be protected.
- Voter Education and Participation. African-Americans turned out to vote in Election 2000 in record numbers, many for the first time. This accomplishment, however, was undercut by allegations of voter intimidation, inaccurate voter registration lists, flawed
ballot designs, and antiquated voting machinery. All of these problems led to confusion before, during and after the election. The CBC will partner with state & local governments, civic & religious organizations and higher education institutions to prevent voter intimidation, as well as to enhance and improve voter registration, education and participation.
- Congress Must Act. Congress has the power, authority and absolute obligation to assure that the apparent disenfranchisement does not ever happen again. The CBC is committed to passing a strong and effective election reform package. Legislation should address ballot design, modern voting machines, an accurate vote-counting mechanism that allows for recounts, the restoration of voting rights for ex-offenders, assistance for bilingual and disabled persons who vote, and ensure the most accurate voter registration rolls on election day so that every one who is eligible to vote can vote, and have that vote counted.
Sponsored bill for IRV voting for Electoral College.
McKinney sponsored for proportional IRV voting for Electoral College
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To provide that a State may use a proportional voting system for multiseat congressional districts.
EXCERPTS OF BILL:
It is the sense of Congress that:
- A State should award its electoral votes for President and Vice President to the candidates who receive a majority of the votes cast in the State for such offices.
- An instant runoff voting (IRV) system is an effective and appropriate method for ensuring that one set of candidates will receive a majority of the votes cast in the State.
Under instant runoff voting, voters rank their favorite and subsequent choice candidates, and if a majority has not voted for one candidate, the candidate with least number of votes is eliminated and another round of counting occurs. In the next round and each subsequent round, ballots are counted for the highest remaining candidate ranked on each ballot, and rounds continue until a candidate has received a majority of the votes cast.
- Each State should adopt an instant runoff voting system for the election of electors for President and Vice President.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to House Committee on Judiciary; never came to a vote.
Source: Voters' Choice Act (H.R.1189) 01-HR1189 on Mar 22, 2001
Allow same-day voter registration on election day.
McKinney co-sponsored the Same Day Voter Registration Act
To amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to require States to permit individuals to register to vote in an election for Federal office on the date of the election.
Source: Bill sponsored by 27 Reps 01-HR128 on Jan 3, 2001
Page last updated: Mar 08, 2011