voting rights

The GOP Is a Greater Threat to Free Elections

Jesse Jackson

Too often lost in the furor, however, is the far more damaging TrikiLeaks – the tricks and laws used to suppress the vote by partisans, largely Republicans here at home. After the Supreme Court’s right-wing gang of five gutted key sections of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby v. Holder, Republican-controlled states immediately ramped up efforts to create obstacles for voting, particularly for people of color.

Eye on Virginia: Restoring Ex-Felons’ Voting Rights

Gary Gately

After four months of political and legal wrangling, McAuliffe, a Democrat, announced he had signed individual orders allowing 13,000 ex-felons who had registered to vote after the governor’s April order, including Banks, to re-register. Now Banks is eager to vote in the November election. “I mean, I want to rejoin society and be a productive person in society,” he said. “I learned my lesson from my incarceration. If you’re willing to come back to society, be productive and do what you’re supposed to do in life, they should welcome you back with open arms.”

Election 2016: Why the Ghosts of ‘Shelby’ Still Haunt Us

Charles F. Coleman Jr.

To weather this storm without further casualty, our community must commit itself toward being steadfast and vigilant. First, we absolutely must re-engage the strategy of grassroots voter-registration drives. Sounds old school, but the effort must be doubled because the finish line has been moved, and the hurdles raised. There is hardly any argument that this is fair; it is the unfortunate result of having a Supreme Court where privilege blinds those in power to the realities of race in modern-day America. 

New Voting Laws Block Many Elders, Women, Minorities

Paul Kleyman

“Voter ID laws disadvantaging older persons place a burden on the voting rights of those most likely to participate in the electoral process,” said Daniel Kohrman, a senior attorney with the AARP Foundation Litigation office in Washington, D.C. That’s because older citizens vote at greater percentages than younger people. A total of 33 states have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls this year. (West Virginia's new law goes into effect in 2018). 

On Its 50th Anniversary, the Voting Rights Act is Under Attack

Peniel E. Joseph

For African Americans, the passage of the Voting Rights Act on Aug. 6, 1965, represented the culmination of a centuries-long struggle for citizenship. President Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the legislation, designed to end a century of voter disfranchisement in the South and other parts of the nation, was inspired by grassroots protests and organizing that gripped the nation. Martin Luther King Jr.’s efforts in Selma, Ala., linked a local campaign for voting rights to a national movement to redefine American democracy.

Hillary Clinton, a Champion of Voting Rights

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson

Arguing that every citizen should have the right to vote, Clinton argued the common sense position that we should do what we can to make voting easier, not make it harder. She called for restoring the Voting Rights Act, to ensure pre-screening of election law changes that potentially discriminate against classes of voters. She embraced the bipartisan presidential commission recommendations for expanding early absentee and mail voting and for ensuring that no one waits more than 30 minutes to cast a vote.

Voter Suppression Tactics in Ohio

Zenitha Prince

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey, almost 13 percent of Hamilton County households –mostly in Cincinnati—do not own a vehicle, creating a potential barrier to early voting given the relatively difficult access to the new site. It is but one of several new laws and policies that rolls back access to the ballot box in Ohio, voting advocates say.

What Are the Benefits of U.S. Citizenship Exactly?

Susan E. Reed

For example, Medicare, the federal health care program for people ages 65 and older, requires certain Lawful Permanent Residents to pay an expensive premium, depending on their work history and length of residence. Naturalization ensures access to Medicare on the same basis as all other Americans. The same is true of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a public program that pays benefits to disabled adults and low-income children. Lawful Permanent Residents who came to the United States in refugee status may receive SSI regardless of work history or length of residence, but generally only for seven years. 

50 Years Later, Civil Rights Leaders Face Daunting Challenges

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

A Pew study specifically released to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebrations graphically made the point that the economic and social gaps between whites and African-Americans have widened over the last few decades despite massive spending by federal and state governments, state and federal civil rights laws, and two decades of affirmative action programs. The racial polarization has been endemic between blacks and whites on everything from the George Zimmerman trial to just about every other controversial case that involves black and white perceptions of the workings of the criminal justice system.

Fighting the New Wave of Voter Suppression

Khalil Abdullah

The same morning Hillary Clinton was using her highly visible stature at the recent American Bar Association convention to call for increased protection for Americans’ right to vote, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law that strips all residents of same-day voter registration, shortens early voter registration and imposes onerous voter ID requirements. “We view the attacks on voting rights in North Carolina to be among the most extreme and regressive we’ve seen in the country,” said Eddie Hailes, managing director and general counsel for Advancement Project.

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