| Get the Picture


Amid a political system influenced by the influx of big money, a majority of Americans are calling for their fundamental right to fair elections, equal representation and other democracy reforms.

At American Promise, we’re working to empower citizens and incorporate their calls for change as part of the Writing the 28th Amendment program. While big money is the overarching concern among those who realize how it infiltrates and deteriorates our democracy, other reform issues are gaining traction—from examining corporate rights and gerrymandering to enacting congressional term limits and public election financing. 

Through our Writing the 28th Amendment town hall events and online poll, American Promise is gathering citizens’ thoughts on the change they want to see in an amendment to create real change and ensure equal representation for all, regardless of wealth. 

We must reaffirm the constitutional principle that citizens hold the power in our democracy.

Easy Action Item
Johannes Epke
Counsel, American Promise
7 Critical Democracy Reforms: Which Are Most Important to You? 

As democracy reform efforts gain momentum across the country, American Promise continues to seek public input on which issues the 28th Amendment should address. Learn more about a variety of proposed amendment provisions being advanced by democracy reform groups, then use our online poll to let us know what’s most important to you.
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More than 75% of Americans agree that we need a constitutional amendment to address the influence of money in our politics—support is also growing for other democracy reforms. Which reforms are most important to you? Share your thoughts in our online poll!
Take the Poll: Help Us Write the 28th Amendment
BridgeUSA CEO Manu Meel: Everyday Americans Have the Power to Make Change 

At this year’s National Citizen Leadership Conference, national collegiate civic leadership organization BridgeUSA will bring nearly 50 members and CEO Manu Meel will speak. Meel says one of his passions is investing in the future of our democracy, and building an America where all people have an equal voice.
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Donate now to the National Citizen Leadership Conference Youth Scholarship Fund—thanks to a few generous donors, all youth scholarship donations will be matched 1:2 through midnight August 22. Your contribution will have 3 times the impact in enabling more young Americans to bring their voices to Washington, D.C.!
Donate Today to the NCLC Youth Scholarship Fund!
Meet the Reformer: 10 questions with Wambui Gatheru of American Promise 

Learn more about American Promise Outreach Manager Wambui Gatheru—from her first civic engagement experience to her biggest professional triumph to the crazy-early time she sets her morning alarm—in this 10-question feature published by the Fulcrum
Read More
| What We’re Tracking This Week

From the Tampa Bay Times: A Florida organization known as Keep Our Constitution Clean has spent more than $800,000 to hire petition gatherers in an effort to limit future amendments to the state’s Constitution. The organization says its purpose is to keep the state’s premier legal document uncluttered by special interest measures. But activists involved in other petition drives say they believe the group is linked to the utility industry, which is opposing a proposed amendment that would deregulate the state’s monopoly utilities, the way the telecom industry was deregulated 37 years ago. Read more.

From the Colorado Sun: An active legislative session in Colorado led to record spending on lobbying in fiscal year 2019. Business interests, associations, nonprofits and other groups spent more than $36.4 million on lobbyists, up 9% from the $33.4 million spent the year before and up 22% from $29.8 million in 2015. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who campaigned against big money in politics, says the level of spending is concerning because only large organizations can afford to pay for lobbyists. “I really do think that Coloradans feel that their politicians are beholden to big-money special interests,” she says. Read more.

From the Cape Cod Times: Ann Shea, a member of the Massachusetts Citizens Commission, shares how the group is examining effects of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. Last year 70% of Massachusetts voters approved a ballot question to establish the citizens commission, which may create a constitutional amendment to address the effects of big money in politics. “Everyone is affected by national legislation enacted by politicians in D.C. who receive donations from corporations and individuals,” Shea says. Read more.

From the San Francisco Chronicle: Juul, the largest U.S. e-cigarette maker, has spent $4.3 million to promote a measure that would overturn San Francisco’s e-cigarette ban and instead restrict the sale of the products. By comparison, backers of three other measures have spent a combined $103,000. Supporters of the other two measures on the Nov. 5 ballot have spent nothing so far. That means Juul accounts for nearly 98% of money spent on the campaigns. Juul has made the financial contributions through the Coalition for Reasonable Vaping Regulation, a committee created to support the measure. Read more

American Promise empowers Americans to act together to win the 28th Amendment so people, not money, govern in America. To maximize our impact together, contributions are not tax deductible. 
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