VOTER SUPPRESSION IS RAMPANT!
Voter IDs, long lines, insufficient polling places, lost voter registration, switched polling locations, misinformation, etc.
Help stop it!
VOTING RIGHTS ARE UNDER ATTACK
A total of 21 states have passed voting restrictions since 2010. (AL, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, OH, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV) And in 2013, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, which had been in place for 50 years. Brennan Center for Justice is doing great work to help. We encourage you join their efforts and get their newsletters.
BILLS IN CONGRESS
Voter Empowerment Act (H.R. 12)
Amends the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) to require each state to make available official public websites for online voter registration, same day registration and voter registration of individuals under 18 years of age. Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit hindering, interfering with, or preventing voter registration. Key Sponsor: Rep. Lewis
Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 (H.R. 2867/S. 1659)
A bill to amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to revise the criteria for determining which States and political subdivisions are subject to section 4 of the Act, and for other purposes. Key Sponsor: Rep. Sewell/Sen. Leahy
Automatic Voter Registration (H.R. 2694)
To amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to require each State to ensure that each individual who provides identifying information to the State motor vehicle authority is automatically registered to vote in elections for Federal office held in the State unless the individual does not meet the eligibility requirements for registering to vote in such elections or declines to be registered to vote in such elections, and for other purposes. Key Sponsor: Rep. Cicilline
PEOPLE POWER PROGRESS UPDATES
- In April 2016, Virginia restored voting rights to 200,000+ ex-felons!
- In February 2016, Maryland restored voting rights to 40,000 ex-felons!
- In October 2015, California passed automatic voter registration, now dozens of other states are considering similar laws.
- In March 2015, Oregon showed a new way forward on voting rights with a new law that ensures Oregonians are automatically registered to vote.
- In January 2015 President Obama mentions mandatory voting as a solution.
- 31 states have online voter registration.
ACTION STEP 1: REGISTER TO VOTE (REGISTER ONLINE HERE)
ACTION STEP 2: ENCOURAGE YOUR FRIENDS TO VOTE
Share why you care about voting. Positive peer pressure actually has an influence. Remind them to vote prior to election day and follow up on the day of any local or federal elections via phone calls, text and social media.
ACTION STEP 3: DEMAND UNIVERSAL VOTER REGISTRATION (which just passed in OR & CA)
Sign this Common Good petition
Sign this USPIRG petition
ACTION STEP 4: START A CONVERSATION ABOUT MANDATORY VOTING
After the dismal turnout of the last few elections (36.4%) CNN ran a series of opinions after asking the question: Should Americans be forced to vote?, The Washington Post ran an opinion piece called A case for compulsory voting, and The Atlantic published A Feasible Roadmap to Compulsory Voting. It seems that Americans may just be ready for what some think is a radical idea. In the 1920s Australia took a bold step and required every voting-age citizen to vote (compulsory voting) - just like jury duty in the U.S. Within four years voting participation jumped from 59% to 91%! Today ten countries have compulsory voting; voters pay a small fine if they don’t vote. Another 14 countries have non-enforced compulsory voting. Even though this could take many years to put in place in the US, we can start talking about it and understand what it means.
- 10 countries have enforced compulsory voting (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Congo, Ecuador, Luxembourg, Nauru, Peru, Singapore, Uruguay)
- 14 countries have non-enforced compulsory voting
Jury duty is mandatory; why not voting?
Mandating voting has a clear effect: It raises participation rates. Before Australia adopted compulsory voting in 1924, for example, it had turnout rates similar to those of the U.S. After voting became mandatory, participation immediately jumped from 59 percent in the election of 1922 to 91 percent in the election of 1925.“ Peter Orszag - Bloomberg News
“I'm not here to tell you to vote, I'm here to remind you that other people can't. Compulsory voting is the guarantee of voter freedom, not its opposite.” - Van Badham – The Guardian
LEARN ABOUT SAME DAY VOTER REGISTRATION (not in all states)
Demos put together a great info package about same day voter registration
LEARN MORE WAYS TO INCREASE VOTING RIGHTS & TURNOUT
Learn more. Brennan Center lays out several great solutions: