Below are are some suggested issue briefs and questions to help you get candidates on the record when you’re meeting them at an event. It’s best to include some personal anecdotes or stories in your question. And feel free to rephrase or re-mix as you see fit.
We’ll be updating the briefs and questions periodically, so please check back for new information.
Q1: Our justice system should keep communities safe, treat people equally, and respect human dignity. Yet today the U.S. locks up more people than any country in the world, often for no good reason and for far too long in horrible conditions. People return to our society even worse off than before they were incarcerated, and the system is rife with racial injustice. Do you commit to reducing the U.S. jail and prison population by 50%? Will you commit to putting forward a plan that would achieve that goal?
Q2: I believe everyone deserves a chance to learn from mistakes, but our criminal justice system has abandoned that idea, prioritizing punishment over redemption and incarceration over treatment. If you were to be elected president, you would have responsibility over the entire federal prison system and the opportunity to remake it. Would you commit to reducing the federal prison population 50% by the end of your presidency?
Q1: About 11 million immigrants are in the United States without legal status, and two-thirds of undocumented adults have lived here for at least 10 years. Unless we bring all of them into the embrace of citizenship, we are institutionalizing a permanent underclass made up mostly of Latino, Asian, and Black people who live and work here but often face exploitation and violations of their basic rights. As president, will you commit to champion new legislation to create fair and achievable paths to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants?
Q2: ICE relies heavily on local sheriffs to help identify immigrants in our families and our communities to arrest, detain, and deport. But Congress already funds ICE at $7 billion per year — exponentially more than any local law enforcement budget. As president, will you commit to disentangling federal immigration enforcement from local law enforcement — most crucially by ending the use of ICE detainers?
Q3: ICE is responsible for the largest immigration detention system in the world — a sprawling network of ICE-run facilities, private prisons, and local jails operating with little to no meaningful oversight. This system costs more than $8 million per day in federal taxpayer dollars. Noncitizens in detention include asylum seekers, long-time U.S. residents, and green card holders. In 1997, the daily detention population was about 12,000. Today it’s 50,000. As president, will you commit to reducing this bloated, expensive detention system by at least 75%?
Federal bans on abortion coverage push abortion access out of reach for millions of people, particularly hurting low-income women and families who face multiple barriers to accessing health care. The president should work to ensure that health insurance covers abortion and all reproductive health care, just like any other health care.
Q1: Because of the Hyde amendment, many people are not able to afford abortion care. I believe no one should be forced to continue a pregnancy against their will because of their income or the type of insurance they have. What will you do to guarantee an end to the Hyde amendment and other bans on insurance coverage of abortion?
Q2: 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will have an abortion in her life, but politicians ban government health insurance plans like Medicaid from covering abortion. I don’t think that politicians should be interfering in people’s private medical decisions just because they are enrolled in Medicaid. As president, will you sign the EACH Woman Act into law so that people can afford abortion no matter what kind of insurance they have?
Q3: Everyone has the right to safe, legal abortion. But when the government bans abortion coverage in health insurance, that right is not a reality for everyone. Will you guarantee that any health care plan you sign as president will include coverage for abortion, along with all other pregnancy-related health are?
Q1: I think we can agree that voting is a really important societal right. Every citizen should have the right to vote — everyone has a stake in their own future and their families’ future, even if they have made serious mistakes in the past. Tell me, would you support the ability of people in prison to vote while still serving time?
Q2: I believe that no citizen of the United States should lose their right to vote. In Maine, Vermont, and Puerto Rico, voting is such a basic civil right that people do not lose it even if they are sentenced to prison. Do you think the rest of the country should follow Maine and Vermont’s example?
Q3: These days, I can buy food for my family at a drive through in literally five minutes, but voting could require standing in line for hours. That seems wrong. Tell me specifically, what reforms would you support to make it easier for people to vote? Would you support moving election day to a weekend? Would you support allowing people to vote by mail without providing an excuse?