Downballot Progress advocates for progressive leadership within state legislatures across the nation while also organizing efforts to reshape our democracy to create a just and equal country.
Through targeting the most high impact seats, we’re advancing policy solutions that meet the crisis in democracy we face now while also preparing for the future. Together, we can create a country where one person equals one vote. Learn more from our prospectus.
What We Do
We research the over 7,500+ state legislature seats to find where volunteers can make the most impact in advancing national progressive causes.
We then promote policy, lobby legislators and recruit volunteers to support candidates who will be additional or decisive votes to pass crucial, progressive legislation in those states.
Downballot Progress will promote current progressive policy solutions within state legislatures including creating progressive tax systems, promoting Green New Deals for every state, and strengthening social justice in all pieces of legislation.
But we’re also strengthening our democracy for the future by calling for new national initiatives like adding a voting rights amendment to the Constitution so that progress made by Congress can’t be struck down by federal courts and no one faces discrimination at the ballot box.
Advance Economic Justice
The best action states can take to create a just economy that works for everyone is to raise taxes on the wealthiest individuals and structure a progressive tax system to fund sorely needed public programs that benefit working families. In addition, states need to raise their minimum wage to $15/hour immediately and create a plan to raise them to $25/hour by 2030. Lastly, lawmakers need to pass legislation that protects workers, which strengthens paid sick, family, and medical leave for all employees, unions, and workplace democracy.
We need Medicare for All from our federal government, but states can do so much to advocate for it along the way. From creating single payer systems in individual states to enacting legislation that eliminates incentives for healthcare companies to profit off our well-being, there is so much legislators can do. In the end, over 40% of Americans are one $400 medical bill from going into debt, and no one should be scared to go to the doctor because of costs. We need to make sure everyone in the US has healthcare, no matter whether it is mental, physical or reproductive care, in a physically accessible and reliable manner.
We support candidates willing to expand and invest in public transportation systems which play a key role in tackling climate change. With a heavy focus on transportation, we can create countless good paying jobs while also addressing massive improvements that are sorely needed in our current infrastructure. Lastly, we can also tackle housing for all by ensuring rail access to all municipalities.
Each state needs to adopt a Green New Deal that focuses on creating the jobs necessary to transition to 100% of our economy towards renewable energy. These solutions must eliminate all carbon emissions, ban fracking and the use of fossil fuels, build green infrastructure, and hold accountable those who created and ignored our climate crisis. We can do this and we must do this.
We know the best way to invest for our future is to further fund education. It’s beyond time to make all public colleges and universities, community colleges, and trade schools tuition free and fund universal pre-k and child care. We also need to take care of our teachers by paying them like we pay our most valued members of society (because they are) and allowing them to unionize. Finally, let’s restructure the inequity of our schools by funding them through a general tax base, not property taxes.
Housing is a human right and states can ensure that right is met by guaranteeing housing for all, establishing rent control and caps, and reinvesting in public housing. We need to further invest in projects that purposefully link public housing projects, transportation, open spaces, great public schools and healthy neighborhoods so that every family can realize their full potential. We know stable and affordable housing can ensure mobility, health and economic opportunity for all working families.
Strengthen Social Justice
Equal Rights for All
It is beyond cruel and inhumane that states allow discrimination based upon sex, race, gender identity or sexual preference. We must pass versions of the Equality Act in every state and protect our brothers, sisters and siblings whenever their rights are under attack. Not only must we ensure these rights, but we must recognize that all written legislation must protect them. We see discrimination way too often, whether it’s under the guise of housing, healthcare, economic, criminal justice or any kind of policy topic.
America’s criminal justice system is racist and preys on society’s most vulnerable. States can lead the way in criminal justice reform through so many measures such as banning private prisons, ending solitary confinement and mandatory minimums, and enforcing body camera usage in all police departments. The list goes on and on. In reality, we must completely dismantle our entire system and reimagine one focused on ensuring human dignity.
Immigrants founded this country and continually contribute to society in ways that only strengthen our future. While states can’t pass a comprehensive overhaul of our immigration system or abolish Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), they can allow undocumented immigrants to obtain an ID and driver’s licesnse, ban state and local agencies from working with ICE, and allow immigrants access to the same public services available to state residents.
Our Founding Fathers warned us about the tyranny of the majority, but it turns out they created a system that forces us to live in the tyranny of the minority opinion instead. This form of government only strengthens division and does not allow for progress. We must fix the Senate, abolish the Electoral College, ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, establish the right to vote, and state that corporations are not people and have no place in our elections.
The best action our country can take is to enshrine the right to vote in our Constitution. Unfortunately, the road to do so is long and we will not see such a right for a long time. Until then, any laws that make it easier to vote are encouraged, especially automatic voter registration. Other actions states can take are expanding early voting, removing barriers to absentee voting, making election days state holidays, and ensuring state election departments are given the proper funding to make sure polling stations are abundant and properly staffed.
We need to strengthen our democracy by ensuring our elections are funded publicly and without corporate influence. We need to encourage state programs that match donations from more small dollar donors and strengthen (if not establish) state agencies to enforce campaign finance law. Lastly, we need to pass ranked choice voting in each state to encourage people to vote for the candidates that best represent their values.
By joining Downballot Progress, you’re building the permanent volunteer infrastructure our movement needs to bring forward change today and tomorrow. Only together can we build the political power necessary to reshape our democracy to meet the crisis we face now and in the future.Sign up to volunteer