Posts

Featured

Must-See Articles

Ever see articles on voting rights that make you go “Wow!?” I’ve saved my favorites to share with people who care about voting rights and preserving our democracy. The list will be updated as I find articles worthy of your interest, so please check back regularly. To see the current list, click here.

I welcome comments – that are thoughtful and free of trash talk. As it has been said, “When they go low, we go high.” Let’s go!

Voter Suppression, “what is it, really?” people have been asking me lately. See for yourself in my latest entry, the Brave New Films video Suppressed – The Fight to Vote.

Disclaimer: I make every effort to post only articles consistent with NVC’s policy of non-partisanship. (Note that these articles are neither written nor verified by National Voter Corps.) However, voting has lately become a highly politicized subject. While both parties have historically used redistricting to favor their interests, in recent years one party has taken vote suppression in its various forms to new levels. So I’m sharing articles that are not intentionally partisan in nature, but are simply stating the facts.

Jerry, the Editor

COVID-19 Threatens Democracy, Too

How long can the primaries be postponed, and what will happen in November? Nine states have postponed primary elections due to the Corona virus.  (https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/16/politics/state-primaries-postponed-coronavirus/index.html.)

What will happen If the crisis lasts past the new election dates?  The U.S. has never cancelled federal elections before — even during WWII, soldiers were sent special vote-by-mail ballots if they didn’t have “absentee” ones. (https://americanhistory.si.edu/democracy-exhibition/vote-voice/keeping-vote/state-rules-federal-rules/soldier-vote.)

Alaska has seized this opportunity to convert to vote-by-mail, for the primary at least, and Maryland is mailing ballots for the special election for Elijah Cummings’s Congressional seat.  But most states don’t have the resources to switch to vote-by-mail – it’s expensive. The $2 Trillion stimulus package makes a start, but offers states only a small fraction of what’s needed. The League of Women Voters explains at https://www.lwv.org/newsroom/press-releases/covid-19-stimulus-package-falls-short-adequate-election-funding.  Another benefit of vote-by-mail is its paper trail.  No complex, online system is un-hackable. Tallies and recounts must have the ability to be audited.

Expense is one obstacle to vote-by-mail. The other is a tradition of voter suppression.  Some states (AL, AR, CT, MA, MO, NH, WV) require an excuse from all voters, and others (IN, KY, LA, MS, TN, TX, SC ) recognize seniors might have difficulties getting to their polling stations and don’t require them to provide an excuse. (https://www.voteathome.org/ ) The application process varies in difficulty by state, but is always easier for people with cars and the ability to take time off from work without losing wages. The process is clearly intended to discourage poor and minority voters.

A less expensive, but riskier option in the short term, is simply to extend early voting.  Allow enough time for voters to show up in manageable groups, during and after work, staggered by address or other identifier.  And make sure the polling station has enough voting booths and volunteers with masks and gloves to avoid crowding.  Long term, it’s more economical to offer vote-by-mail with centralized voting centers for assistance, and to register people automatically at motor vehicle and social services agencies.

What Can You Do?

Ask your elected representatives and your social media friends to support legislation to adequately fund upcoming elections. And volunteer with groups that promote voting rights and voter registration.  Here’s what your Registrar of Voters should be doing to promote voting according to the League of Women Voters https://www.lwv.org/blog/10-things-elections-officials-can-do-safeguard-our-elections-spring-summer-and-fall?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=033020 and the Brennan Center https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/estimated-costs-covid-19-election-resiliency-measures.  

Fight Back Against Voter Roll Purges

“Minority Voters Purged From Polls” “Arkansas Voter ID Law Upheld”  Each day seems to bring new reports on attacks on citizens’ right to vote, especially African Americans and people of color. Most of us react in one of two ways –  flight or fight. Continue reading “Fight Back Against Voter Roll Purges”

A Unique (but much needed) Approach to Voter Registration

Prison inmates are largely ignored when it comes to voter registration efforts. Most people – including prisoners themselves– assume they are ineligible to vote. While convicted felons cannot vote, inmates who are awaiting trial (and therefore innocent until proven guilty) or serving time for misdemeanors are actually qualified to register and vote.  Continue reading “A Unique (but much needed) Approach to Voter Registration”

Mi Familia Vota in California’s Central Valley

Are you frustrated by low voter turnout and attempts to suppress voting? Here’s a ridiculously easy way to join the fight…come to a party and donate.

Mi Familia Vota  is a national civic engagement organization that unites Latino, immigrant and allied communities to promote social and and economic justice through citizenship workshops, voter registration and voter participation.  (Check out their Introduction video.)  Continue reading “Mi Familia Vota in California’s Central Valley”

Why is the NVC Non-Partisan?

It seems just about every day, we hear about new constraints making it more difficult for citizens to vote.  These barriers are being raised by state governments controlled by Republicans.  Several Republican legislators have even bragged that they have reduced voter turnout among Democrats.  Many Republican-controlled legislatures have enacted laws crafted for them by a single right-wing organization, the “American Legislative Exchange Council.”  So, in light of this unpatriotic behavior by members of one political party, why is the National Voter Corps non-partisan?

Continue reading “Why is the NVC Non-Partisan?”

How Politicians Pick Who You Vote For

In October the Supreme Court will begin deliberations on a ruling that could change the toxic environment of our politics. In the much-anticipated case of Whitford vs. Gill, the court will review the redistricting plan of Wisconsin, which a panel of three federal judges ruled was unconstitutional.  Continue reading “How Politicians Pick Who You Vote For”

Should Felons be Allowed to Vote?

At times in the not so distant past, our nation has criminalized activity that we now at least tolerate.  It has been a felony to criticize our government, to marry outside of one’s race, to make wine, to engage in some forms of sex with one’s spouse, to belong to the Communist Party, to be a homosexual, and much else.  In some states, if you were found guilty of violating one of these laws, you would have lost forever your right to vote.  Continue reading “Should Felons be Allowed to Vote?”