Community Activism · Elections · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Help Florida’s Ex-Felons Regain The Right to Vote

Help ex-felons in Florida regain the right to vote by supporting efforts to change a punitive state law.

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee shone a light on this issue recently. Florida is one of just three states that revokes ex-felons’ voting rights for life. As you read this, more than 1.5 million Floridians cannot vote. That amounts to roughly 10 percent of Florida’s adult population, and about 20 percent of all African-Americans living in the state.

Some Floridians hope to change the law. They need 700,000 of their fellow citizens to sign a petition that will place the question of restoring voting rights to ex-felons on the state’s 2018 ballot.

If you haven’t yet, see the Full Frontal With Samantha Bee segment:

https://www.miamirights.com

 

If you live in Florida, click the link below and sign the petition to place the question on the 2018 ballot. If you don’t, print out the PDF at the link below and send it to someone you know who does:

https://media.wix.com/ugd/b14935_60c594c5deec411dae612e7a324057c2.pdf

 

Donate to the Say Yes to Second Chances effort:

https://act.myngp.com/Forms/-182950647699273984

 

Read about the effects of the Florida law, and read about the people who are trying to change it:

http://www.tampabay.com/news/perspective/floridas-felon-vote-destroying-lives-and-wasting-taxpayer-dollars/2307853

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/election/article95076927.html

https://www.wuft.org/news/2017/04/14/activists-push-for-ex-felon-voter-rights-restoration/

https://www.wuft.org/news/2017/04/14/activists-push-for-ex-felon-voter-rights-restoration/

 

Also, visit the Full Frontal with Samantha Bee website:

http://www.samanthabee.com

 

Follow Full Frontal With Samantha Bee on Twitter:

@FullFrontalSamB

 

Like the show on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/fullfrontalsamb

 

And check out the spiffy merch in the show’s online shop:

https://shop.tbs.com

Call Your State Legislators · Community Activism · Elections · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Learn If Your State Is Passing Laws That Restrict Voting, and Fight Back

Is your state trying to pass laws that make it harder to vote? Consult the Brennan Center’s info and maps, and if the answer is yes, fight back.

Voting restrictions are a scourge on democracy, but as long as they benefit Republicans, Republicans will try to pass them. We feel that if you are eligible to vote, and you want to vote, you should be able to vote, and you should be given many options for doing so to let you choose the means that works best for your schedule.

The Brennan Center for Justice, located at the New York University School of Law, tracks state bills that intend or have the effect of making it harder to vote.

 

First, read the Brennan Center’s Voting Laws Roundup for 2017, and see if your state is mentioned:

https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/voting-laws-roundup-2017?utm_content=bufferba0df&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

Also see the Brennan Center’s interactive map of New Voting Restrictions in America:

https://www.brennancenter.org/new-voting-restrictions-america

 

Once you know what’s going on in your state, call your state-level reps to speak out against laws that restrict voting.

Don’t know who your state house rep and state senator are? Plug your address and zip code into this search tool (note–the address is key. If you only give your zip code, you won’t get the two names you most need):

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org

Then click on the names of your state house rep and state senator. Their contact info will come up.

Here’s a sample script that you can modify accordingly:

“Dear (State Senator/House Rep Lastname), I ask you to oppose (House/Senate bill ####), which will have the effect of making it harder to cast a vote. Everyone who is eligible to vote, and wants to, should have the opportunity to do so. Bills and laws that make it harder to vote are inherently anti-democratic. Please do not sponsor, co-sponsor, or support bills that stop people from voting. Thank you.”

Action Alerts · Elections · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Support Spread the Vote, Which Helps Citizens Obtain IDs

Support Spread the Vote, an organization that helps citizens access the ballot by obtaining IDs that their states require.

Republicans have noticed that they are more likely to win when fewer voters turn out. For this reason, they have embraced anti-democratic (small d) moves such as placing restrictions and qualifications on access to the ballot. Requiring prospective voters to present specific forms of identification is a favorite of theirs.

Voter ID laws suck, and they constitute the modern version of a poll tax. It hits the poor, the working class, the elderly, the young, and minorities particularly hard.

Some lack the documents they need to obtain ID, and cannot muster the money needed to hunt down those documents. Some can’t get the time off work to stand in line at City Hall or the DMV to straighten things out. Some are college students, whose college IDs are not generally accepted, and who receive conflicting information about where they can vote (home or on campus).

Enter Spread the Vote. Its mission is to help people get the documents they need to access the ballot. According to its numbers, 21 million people lack a government-issued photo ID, and 31 states require some form of ID to vote.

By helping Spread the Vote, you help expand the pool of eligible voters and defeat bullshit obstacles thrown up by Republicans who find it easier to frustrate citizens rather than develop ideas and policies that people would want to vote for.

Spread the Vote is and has conducted state-specific projects in Virginia and Georgia, but its scope is nation-wide. Please encourage their good work in whatever manner you can.

 

See Spread the Vote’s webpage:

https://www.spreadthevote.org

 

Ask for its help with obtaining an ID so you can vote:

https://www.spreadthevote.org/vote/

 

Volunteer for Spread the Vote:

https://www.spreadthevote.org/volunteer/

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/SpreadTheVoteUS

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@SpreadTheVoteUS

 

Donate to Spread the Vote:

https://secure.squarespace.com/commerce/donate?donatePageId=58727f25f7e0ab8a674b88bb

 

Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Support the Efforts of Let America Vote

Support the efforts of Let America Vote, which fights attempts to make it harder for Americans to cast a ballot.

It’s disturbing to think that any political party in the United States sees lowering voter turnout as a positive strategy, but that is exactly the current attitude of the GOP. They have noticed that their candidates do better when fewer people come out, and they have pursued policies, such as voter ID legislation, which make it harder for people to vote.

The election of Donald Trump promises to make things worse. Losing the popular vote by three million votes clearly wounded his ego, so much so that on May 11 he launched the Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Its co-leaders are Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a notorious fan of laws that restrict access to the ballot.

We need to push back against voter suppression, hard and often. Two out of five eligible citizens did not vote in November 2016. In order to strengthen democracy and undo the damage of Trump and the Republicans, we need to encourage non-voters to come out and exercise their rights–not just for presidential elections, but for primaries, mid-terms, and special elections. Trump fans and devoted Republicans have no interest in fixing the larger problem. We need to invite and recruit citizens who rarely or never vote.

Let America Vote helps the cause by fighting attempts to make it harder for people to vote. This takes the form of fighting restrictive bills and laws; questioning purges of voter rolls; and fighting those who try to intimidate voters.

 

Visit the Let America Vote page:

https://www.letamericavote.org

 

Learn about restrictive voting laws that might apply in your state:

https://www.letamericavote.org/states/

 

Read Let America Vote’s statement against Republican Karen Handel’s fundraising email that cited her outrage over citizens of Georgia’s 6th District gaining more time to register to vote:

https://www.letamericavote.org/news/2017/jason-kander-statement-karen-handels-outrage-eligible-georgia-voters-allowed-register-vote/

 

Read its statement on Trump’s task force on voter fraud:

https://www.letamericavote.org/news/2017/let-america-vote-statement-executive-order-creating-task-force-investigating-voter-fraud/

 

Like Let America Vote on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/letamericavote/

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@Let_AmericaVote

 

Apply to intern with Let America Vote:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc8QCrO26Rw_ciCPQSrfNEG8DuCCoZLAASK_ZsCIJ_s1YzAow/viewform

 

Volunteer to help Let America Vote:

https://secure.letamericavote.org/page/s/get-involved

 

Donate to Let America Vote:

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/lav-main?recurring=true

 

Read about Trump’s voter fraud commission, the reputation of Kris Kobach, and the GOP’s inclination to suppress the vote:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/05/kris_kobach_is_leading_trump_s_vote_fraud_commission_that_s_terrifying.html

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/the-gops-stealth-war-against-voters-w435890

 

 

 

 

Elections · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Support H.R. 2840, the Automatic Voter Registration Act

Support H.R. 2840, the Automatic Voter Registration Act, which would automatically sign up eligible voters when they interact with a relevant government agency.

Voting restrictions are bullshit. That’s the official position of OTYCD. Always has been, always will be. We feel that if you’re eligible to vote and you want to vote, you should be allowed to vote, and you should be offered a range of options for doing so–in-person, by mail, on weekdays, on weekends, at many different times of day within a reasonable, set window of time.

We’d feel this way if voting restriction laws benefitted Republicans and hurt Democrats. Voting is a fundamental right of a democracy. We should be extending it to everyone who ‘s of age and who wants it, and we should be making it easier and not harder to vote.

On June 8, 2017, Senators Pat Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, and Robert Brady, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, introduced H.R. 2840, the Automatic Voter Registration Act, which would do just that–automatically sign people up to register to vote when they  apply for a driver’s license or for public services, or enroll in college, or become a naturalized citizen. The Brennan Center for Justice reports that eight states, plus the District of Columbia, have adopted automatic voter registration recently. If it was available in all 50 states, it could increase the voter rolls by 50 million.

Right now, GovTrack rates the bill’s chance of passage at 1 percent. But if enough of us call and ask our MoCs to make it a law, maybe it will.

Sample script: (Dear House Rep/Senator Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, of town, zip code). I am calling to ask you to support H.R. 2840, the Automatic Voter Registration Act. Making voter registration automatic just makes sense. People who are eligible to vote and who want to vote should be allowed to vote, and we shouldn’t be placing arbitrary barriers in their way–we should make the process as smooth and as easy as possible. If the bill becomes law, it would add 50 million voters to the rolls. Please support it. Thanks.”

 

Read the Brennan Center for Justice’s release on H.R. 2840:

https://www.brennancenter.org/press-release/members-congress-introduce-legislation-modernize-voter-registration

 

Read the Brennan Center’s argument in favor of automatic voter registration:

https://www.brennancenter.org/publication/case-automatic-voter-registration

 

Read the Brennan Center’s backgrounder on automatic and permanent voter registration:

https://www.brennancenter.org/publication/automatic-and-permanent-voter-registration-how-it-works

 

See the GovTrack entry on H.R. 2840:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr2840

 

 

 

 

Elections · Vote with your Dollars · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Support Arnold Schwarzenegger and Common Cause’s Campaign to Stop Gerrymandering

Help former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Common Cause organization raise money to pay for lawyers to argue against gerrymandering in an upcoming Supreme Court (SCOTUS) case.

Gerrymandering is a scourge upon our nation. After the 2010 census, Republicans managed to redraw many state maps to favor their party at the expense of the Democrats. This is 32 flavors of wrong, and it hobbles small-d democracy.

Schwarzenegger and Common Cause, a 47-year-old organization with many pro-ethics, pro-voting rights, and pro-democracy victories to its credit, have joined forces to raise $150,000 to underwrite the cost of hiring lawyers to argue against gerrymandering at SCOTUS in a case involving the Wisconsin legislature.

Schwarzenegger has agreed to provide matching funds for the campaign, which is being conducted on the Crowdpac platform.

See the Crowdpac page for the anti-gerrymanding fundraiser:

https://www.crowdpac.com/campaigns/207023/this-is-our-chance-to-make-gerrymandering-unconstitutional?source_code=homepage&ref_code=website

 

Read a May 2016 piece by the Brennan Center on the Wisconsin gerrymandering case:

http://www.brennancenter.org/blog/faceoff-starts-wisconsin-partisan-gerrymandering-case

 

Read various June 2017 news reports on SCOTUS agreeing to hear the case:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/19/533519165/supreme-court-agrees-to-hear-wisconsin-gerrymandering-case

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/supreme-court-will-hear-big-wisconsin-gerrymandering-case.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-to-hear-potentially-landmark-case-on-partisan-gerrymandering/2017/06/19/d525237e-5435-11e7-b38e-35fd8e0c288f_story.html?utm_term=.93064a3a4972

 

Visit the Common Cause webpage:

http://www.commoncause.org

 

Learn its history and see its FAQ:

http://www.commoncause.org/about/our-impact/

http://www.commoncause.org/about/our-impact/faq/

 

See if Common Cause has an office in your state:

http://www.commoncause.org/states/

 

Like Common Cause on Facebook:

http://www.commoncause.org/states/

 

Follow Common Cause on Twitter:

@CommonCause

Action Alerts · Elections · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Thank You Actions · Voting Rights, Fighting Voter Suppression

Tell Your Secretary of State to Say No to Kris Kobach’s Voter Suppression Campaign

Tell your state’s secretary of state to refuse to cooperate with Kris Kobach’s demand to turn over sensitive information about you and your fellow voters.

Donald Trump chose Kobach to lead his commission on electoral integrity, a ridiculous effort that has no basis in fact. Stung by the fact that he lost the popular vote in 2016 by 3 million, Trump is salving his ego by holding to the fiction that millions of votes were cast illegally. So he’s chosen Kobach, who is known for his efforts to suppress the vote, to lead this assault on our rights.

In late June, Kobach asked all 50 states to supply detailed information about their voters, dating back to 2006: names, dates of birth, addresses, party affiliation (if known), and even the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers. (Kobach is the secretary of state for Kansas.)

As of July 1, more than half the states refused to comply. One told Kobach to go jump in a lake–well, the ocean, technically speaking. Delbert Hosemann, secretary of state for Mississippi, responded by saying, “They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.”

You need to find out who your secretary of state is and find out how that person responded to Kobach’s request.

 

You can do that by going to:

http://www.whoaremyrepresentatives.org

Once you have that person’s name, search it to get the contact info. You’ll have to scroll down a bit. Depending on where you live, the title might be slightly different. For example, in Massachusetts, that person is called the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Look for the title that starts with ‘Secretary of…’.

 

Ari Berman, author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, has been tracking the situation on Twitter.  As of July 1, he reports that the following states have said no:

Arizona

California

Connecticut

Indiana

Kentucky

Massachusetts

Minnesota

Mississippi

Montana

North Carolina

New Mexico

North Dakota

Nevada

New York

Ohio

Oklahoma

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Virginia

Vermont

Washington

Wisconsin

 

Does this list include your state? If so, contact your secretary of state and say thank you.

If this list does not include your state, that does not necessarily mean that the secretary of state has complied yet. Write and call to make it clear that you want your state to say no to Kobach and his bullshit request.

 

If you live in Mississippi, it’s extra-important to write or call Delbert Hosemann to thank him. He’s a Republican, btw. If you live outside Mississippi, send him a thank-you postcard:

Delbert Hosemann

Secretary of State

401 Mississippi Street

Jackson, MS 39201

 

To learn more about Kobach and what he hopes to accomplish, read Berman’s June 13, 2017 story for the New York Times Magazine titled The Man Behind Trump’s Voter-Fraud Obsession:

 

To stay on top of Kobach’s assault on our voting rights, and assaults on voting rights in America generally, follow Ari Berman on Twitter:

@AriBerman

 

Lastly, do you live in Kansas? Then you know that Kris Kobach is running for governor in 2018. Please do what you can to oppose and hamper his campaign. As of July 1, three candidates, including Kobach, had declared they will run, and all three are Republican.

When OTYCD hears of a Democratic candidate for Kansas governor, or receives solid information that one of the other Republicans is sane and has a spine, we’ll devote a separate post to the race. For now, concentrate on defeating Kobach.