Difference between revisions of "Voting Rights"

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===Trump/GOP agenda===
 
===Trump/GOP agenda===
*Trump has supported the use of Voter ID laws,[http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/donald-trump-voter-id-law-fraud-226832] challenged early voting,[http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/donald-trump-early-voting-232437] and falsely claimed that 3 to 5 million undocumented [[Immigration|immigrants]] cast votes during the [[Elections#2016_Presidential_Election|2016 election]].[http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2016/nov/18/blog-posting/no-3-million-undocumented-immigrants-did-not-vote-/]  
+
*Trump has supported the use of Voter ID laws,[http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/donald-trump-voter-id-law-fraud-226832] challenged early voting,[http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/donald-trump-early-voting-232437] and falsely claimed that 3 to 5 million undocumented [[Immigration|immigrants]] cast votes during the [[Elections#2016_Presidential_Election|2016 election]].[http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2016/nov/18/blog-posting/no-3-million-undocumented-immigrants-did-not-vote-/] In fact, in studying 23.5 million votes from around the country that were cast during the 2016 election, only 30 were found to be cases of voter fraud [https://www.brennancenter.org/publication/noncitizen-voting-missing-millions].
 
*[[Trump_Administration#Attorney_General_Jeff_Sessions|Attorney General Jeff Sessions]] has a record of prosecuting civil rights activists for trying to register voters,[https://www.thenation.com/article/the-first-senator-to-endorse-donald-trump-is-a-longtime-opponent-of-civil-rights/] calling the Voting Rights Act "a piece of intrusive legislation,"[https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/may/05/jeff-sessions-arlen-specter-judiciary-committee] opposing legislation to expand voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals,[http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/why-trump-s-choice-of-jeff-sessions-as-ag-is-alarming-voting-rights-advocates] and supporting Voter ID laws.[http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/why-trump-s-choice-of-jeff-sessions-as-ag-is-alarming-voting-rights-advocates] So, reporting suggests the Trump administration's agenda will likely focus on supporting voter restrictions, further weakening protections within the Voting Rights Act, and targeting organizations that register people to vote and other groups in the name of alleged "voter fraud" (which almost never occurs).[http://www.vox.com/2015/8/6/9107927/voter-id-election-fraud]<br>
 
*[[Trump_Administration#Attorney_General_Jeff_Sessions|Attorney General Jeff Sessions]] has a record of prosecuting civil rights activists for trying to register voters,[https://www.thenation.com/article/the-first-senator-to-endorse-donald-trump-is-a-longtime-opponent-of-civil-rights/] calling the Voting Rights Act "a piece of intrusive legislation,"[https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/may/05/jeff-sessions-arlen-specter-judiciary-committee] opposing legislation to expand voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals,[http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/why-trump-s-choice-of-jeff-sessions-as-ag-is-alarming-voting-rights-advocates] and supporting Voter ID laws.[http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/why-trump-s-choice-of-jeff-sessions-as-ag-is-alarming-voting-rights-advocates] So, reporting suggests the Trump administration's agenda will likely focus on supporting voter restrictions, further weakening protections within the Voting Rights Act, and targeting organizations that register people to vote and other groups in the name of alleged "voter fraud" (which almost never occurs).[http://www.vox.com/2015/8/6/9107927/voter-id-election-fraud]<br>
 
*According to the [https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/voting-laws-roundup-2017 Brennan Center], at least '''308 bills to enhance voting access''' have been introduced in 36 states. Meanwhile, at least '''46 bills to restrict access''' to registration and voting have been introduced in 21 states. Go to [[State and Local Pages]] to view the bills currently being considered in your state.<br>
 
*According to the [https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/voting-laws-roundup-2017 Brennan Center], at least '''308 bills to enhance voting access''' have been introduced in 36 states. Meanwhile, at least '''46 bills to restrict access''' to registration and voting have been introduced in 21 states. Go to [[State and Local Pages]] to view the bills currently being considered in your state.<br>

Revision as of 22:12, 18 May 2017

This is a collaborative knowledge base; feel free to propose edits/additions that you believe are important for others to know. Contributions will be reviewed and approved based on quality and accuracy.

How You Can Resist
How You Can Resist

Updates
Recent Updates

  • 5/15/2017: The Supreme Court decided not to review a decision by a court finding that North Carolina's 2013 election law discriminates against African Americans, which means that the decision will remain in place.[3]
  • 5/11/2017: President Trump signed an executive order establishing a "Presidential Commission on Election Integrity". This is a bipartisan commission, which Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will lead. Kobach, as Secretary of State of Kansas, has been a strong supporter of voter ID legislation. Former Secretary of State of Missouri Jason Kander relayed a story about Kobach's voter ID efforts in Kansas on Twitter. The ACLU reacted to the announcement by noting it has been undefeated against Kobach's voter suppression efforts in court, winning four times. The Kansas City Star noted that judges have "dismissed [Kobach's] assertions about voter fraud because they were backed by 'scant evidence' or based on 'pure speculation.'"
  • 5/9/2017: The Census Bureau Director John Thompson resigned today in the middle of a funding battle for the agency. The Census Bureau is short on funds right now, which is especially harmful since the next census is quickly coming in 2020. As he steps down, it raises concerns about gerrymandering. The census is the basis for redistricting, which determines how many representatives a district has in Congress. Without proper leadership, a poorly-conducted census could put minority populations’ representation at risk [4].

Actions Taken by the Federal Government
Laws Proposed by Congress

Legislative Actions

Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice




  • HR 946 would allow all eligible voters to vote by mail in federal elections.
    Billtracker.png


Harmful Legislation

  • HR 133 would end taxpayer funding of presidential campaigns, making candidates more dependent on donations from wealthy individuals and corporations.
    Billtracker.png


  • HR 634 The House Administration Committee voted to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission, which is the federal agency that works to help administer elections. It is the only federal agency that makes sure that voting machines can't be hacked.[5]
    Billtracker.png


See also the State and Local Pages for state-by-state legislative tracking.

Making It Harder to Vote (Voter Suppression)

Voter suppression is creating laws and requirements that make it more difficult to vote. For example, voter ID laws are a common way to make it more challenging to vote by creating strict requirements on the types of ID (i.e. a driver license but not a student ID from a state university) that affects some people more than others. People with disabilities, in particular, are thought to be the "canaries in the coal mine" when it comes to policies that make it more difficult to vote, which is especially troubling given that up to 35% of all people will need accommodations to vote in the next 25 years.[6] Voter ID laws have been found unconstitutional in some states after challenges from the Obama Justice Department, most notably in North Carolina, where courts found explicit discriminatory intent.[7] Voter ID laws disproportionately reduces turnout among people of color, who tend to vote Democratic:
Voteridlaw.png

  • Interstate Voter Crosscheck Program. This program was started by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in 2007 and is now practiced in 27 states. Kansas combines voter registrant lists from all 27 states and purges "duplicates". All that is required to appear on this list are duplicate first name, last name and birth date. The result has been massive voter purging. Greg Palast has been done investigative journalism on this controversial program in his documentary called The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Use this link to check if you are registered as a "double voter" on the Interstate Voter Crosscheck list. [8]

Trump/GOP agenda

  • Trump has supported the use of Voter ID laws,[9] challenged early voting,[10] and falsely claimed that 3 to 5 million undocumented immigrants cast votes during the 2016 election.[11] In fact, in studying 23.5 million votes from around the country that were cast during the 2016 election, only 30 were found to be cases of voter fraud [12].
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a record of prosecuting civil rights activists for trying to register voters,[13] calling the Voting Rights Act "a piece of intrusive legislation,"[14] opposing legislation to expand voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals,[15] and supporting Voter ID laws.[16] So, reporting suggests the Trump administration's agenda will likely focus on supporting voter restrictions, further weakening protections within the Voting Rights Act, and targeting organizations that register people to vote and other groups in the name of alleged "voter fraud" (which almost never occurs).[17]
  • According to the Brennan Center, at least 308 bills to enhance voting access have been introduced in 36 states. Meanwhile, at least 46 bills to restrict access to registration and voting have been introduced in 21 states. Go to State and Local Pages to view the bills currently being considered in your state.

36 states are considering bills that expand voting access [1]. 21 states are considering bills that restrict voting access [2].

Updates

  • 2/27/2017: Early reporting suggests the DOJ will switch sides in Texas voter ID case to defend the discriminatory law. Voter ID laws have been found to suppress black and Hispanic voter turnout.

Make Your Vote Count Less (Gerrymandering)

For both federal and state elections, states are divided into districts and the district then elects people to represent them in state or federal government. At least once a decade, district lines are redrawn to ensure that each district has about the same number of people. Ideally, redistricting should secure a district’s residents’ best interest and provide meaningful representation. However, gerrymandering is the deliberate manipulation of district lines that will influence the outcome of elections and thus protect/change political power. While the re-drawing effort is sometimes a bipartisan effort, one party can control the process in some states to secure their power. In turn, communities can be divided in this process into multiple districts at the expense of their interests. Redistricting essentially determines which party controls local, state, and national political power, so gerrymandering can affect political representation across the country on multiple levels. The next redistricting efforts will take place after the 2020 census. State lawmakers will propose redistricting reforms that can impact crucial state elections. Hold your line drawers or state legislators accountable and demand fair representation in all upcoming elections. [18]

Gerrymandering.png

Updates

  • 5/1/2017: Congress and the Administration have come to an agreement for a budget that funds the federal government until this fall. Items in the area of voting rights include:
    • $1.47 billion for the Census Bureau, which is equal to the amount in the House bill and $100 million more than the Fiscal Year 2016 level, but $163.6 million below the amount requested This includes funding to help ensure an efficient 2020 Census utilizing innovative and cost-effective enumeration practices. [19]These practices can make the census more cost-effective and accurate. The Republican Party and the Trump administration have made statements that suggest changes to census taking that would impact voting rights.[20]
  • 3/10/2017: The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas handed down a 2-1 decision in "Perez v. Abbot", finding that four Texas districts had been drawn in a way that violated the Voting Rights Act and Constitution because they were drawn with a racially discriminatory intent. The majority opinion stated that some redistricting was "intended to dilute Hispanic voters opportunity to elect their candidate of choice."[21]
  • 3/1/2017: The Supreme Court handed down its decision in Bethune Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections, instructing the Federal District Court of Eastern Virginia to reconsider whether 11 of 12 districts amounted to a race-based gerrymander. Though the Court did not rule these districts were unconstitutional, it commanded the District Court to use a standard which makes a race-based gerrymander easier to prove.[22]