DURHAM, N.H. — The American Civil Liberties Union launched its first ever large-scale presidential campaign engagement, Rights for All, this week to ensure our next president is committed to protecting and advancing the civil liberties and civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Through the ACLU’s Rights for All effort, the organization will elevate criminal justice reform, access to voting, reproductive freedom, immigrants’ rights, and other civil liberties issues in the 2020 presidential race.
The ACLU unveiled its Rights for All policy platform and will strongly encourage candidates to adopt bold policies in four key issue areas, including reducing incarceration in jails and prisons by 50 percent, and ensuring that all who need it can access reproductive healthcare by ending bans on insurance coverage. The entire platform can be found here.
“While we don’t endorse or oppose individual candidates, we do want to ensure they are all talking about key issues our supporters care about — criminal justice reform, voting rights, reproductive freedom, and immigrants’ rights,” said Ronald Newman, ACLU’s acting national political director.
The organization will support and encourage volunteers, many of whom are directly impacted people — especially in the states with early nominating contests including New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada — to meet the candidates face to face and record candidates’ answers on what they will do about key issues. The goal is to have all candidates hear directly from voters across the country and ensure that they adopt pro-civil liberties policies. The organization has hired 10 new organizers in the four early states to help with this work.
“Our goal is to move candidates to take positions that embrace Rights for All on these issues, and to ensure that voters cast an informed ballot,” Newman said. “Our volunteers and supporters have great ability to impact candidates’ policy positions and proposals — as this is the moment when politicians are listening most closely to voters and seeking to find ways to distinguish themselves.”
The Rights for All site will house the videos that volunteers have captured allowing visitors to compare candidates on key civil liberties issues. Volunteers nationwide will engage with the candidates online by asking impactful questions on their social media feeds.
Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Hampshire, said, “Having piloted this campaign for the past few months in New Hampshire, we’ve already seen the power in getting candidates on the record about important civil liberties issues. With appearances at coffee shops, corner diners, and homes across the state, we have a unique opportunity for volunteers to ask—and hopefully move—candidates on some of the most vital issues our country faces.”
Later in the cycle, the ACLU will also circulate and publicly share questionnaire responses from the presidential candidates, as well as host a candidate forum to put the candidates in conversation with individuals impacted by the key four policy planks. As the campaign progresses, the ACLU will use the full range of voter contact tools — digital ads, mailings, canvassing, and calls and texts — to educate voters about where the candidates stand and mobilize them to vote on these civil liberties issues.
In addition to the presidential campaign, the ACLU will build on its successful 2018 campaign work and continue to engage in ballot initiatives and candidate races where civil liberties and civil rights are on the line, spending $28-30 million for the whole cycle.
More information about ACLU’s 2020 work can be found at RightsforAll.us.