To provide a framework for the efforts of the California Ethics & Democracy Project, the group has agreed to the following principles, goals and results:
- Honest and fair elections are the foundation of democracy and inspire public trust in government.
- Voters are smart and will make the best choices if they are engaged in the process and offered the tools to consider information.
- Since each voter has different ideology and morals, ethics and voter outreach programs must always be unbiased and should never tell voters “who” to vote for, either by direct mention or by inference.
- Best Practices: Through the sharing of experiences, data and anecdotal information, compose a set of best practices and guidelines for ethics and community outreach programs.
- Shared Resources: Create a repository for resources and collateral materials that can be shared to start these types of efforts and improve existing programs, including codes of ethics and values, campaign finance law, community outreach and other programs.
- Educational Curriculum: Define an educational curriculum to teach the basic skillsets necessary and identify pitfalls surrounding the implementation of these programs, in a way that is replicable throughout California and the United States.
- Educated Voter Turnout: Foster educated turnout by helping voters to become more savvy, make it easy for them to engage and provide the tools to make thoughtful judgments about candidates.
- Bridge the Voter Gap: Increase voter turnout and overcome voter apathy by engaging people who have been traditionally left out of direct mail and political campaigns.
- Public Trust and Involvement: Community trust, pride and involvement are increased by engaging the public in government and elections that are open, fair and honest.
- Improving Elections Process: Positively influence the engagement of the public, the caliber of debate and the level of service at the municipal government level.
- Higher Level of Service: Provide the incentive and ability for staff, commissioners, candidates and elected officials to be more likely to serve at their best and hold themselves accountable to perform at a higher level.