Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Maryland and North Carolina’s gerrymandered district maps. More precisely, it ruled that it did not have the ability to pass judgment on whether or not a map is excessively gerrymandered along partisan lines. Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in the court’s opinion that the maps were “blatant examples of partisanship,” but the 5-4 conservative majority fell … Continue reading Republicans Split Votes, Supreme Court Splits Hairs
When Floridians voted yes on Amendment 4 last year, they spoke loud and clear: 65% voted to restore voting rights for Floridians who completed a felony sentence (except for felony sex crimes and murder), opening the door for over 1.5 million disenfranchised Floridians to regain their voting rights. But on Wednesday, the Florida House passed a measure requiring those with felony convictions to pay up … Continue reading Florida Republicans Are Bringing Back Poll Taxes
House Democrats’ campaign finance and voting reform bill, HR 1, the For The People Act, recently made its way out of the House. As we wait for it to be brought to a vote in the Senate, we will be chronicling the different game-changing aspects of the bill in a series of blogs titled: What’s in HR 1? Voter Registration For more than two decades, … Continue reading What’s in HR 1? Voter Registration
As their first order of business, House Democrats introduced HR 1 as soon as the new 2019 Congress came into session. An anti-corruption, pro-democracy reform bill, the For The People Act is aimed at improving our democracy for all Americans by limiting the corrupting influence of money in politics and making voting easier, not harder. Today, it passed in the House without any Republican support. … Continue reading House Dems Votes “Yes” on HR 1, the For The People Act
This week, Senator Mitch McConnell authored a piece in the Washington Post where he falsely portrayed HR 1, the House Democrat’s sweeping anti-corruption, pro-democracy reform bill, as a partisan attack on political freedom. In the process, McConnell revealed just how little he or his Republican colleagues actually care about the core tenets of our democracy, and how blatantly he’s willing to lie to preserve whatever … Continue reading Why is Senator Mitch McConnell Against Improving Our Democracy?
During the lame duck session in Wisconsin’s state legislature, a coup of sorts has taken place. Robin Vos, the current Republican Speaker of the State Assembly, has overseen the passage of legislation that will empower the State Legislature at the expense of the incoming Governor, Tony Evers, simply because Evers is a Democrat. Their ability to even attempt this is due to gerrymandering, the manipulation … Continue reading Wisconsin Republicans are Following in North Carolina’s Footsteps
This election season has been particularly ugly, exposing many weak spots in our democracy. After being defeated in statewide races, Republican legislators in Wisconsin and Michigan are spending what little time they have left before their new governors take power doing everything possible to subvert the will of their states’ voters. The partisan weakening of incoming governors’ powers, as well as undoing of citizen-supported measures … Continue reading Democracy Suspended in Wisconsin and Michigan
While the Democrats winning the House in last month’s midterms means new checks and balances on the Trump admin’s efforts to turn federal coffers into the donor class’s piggyback, the result of a Florida ballot question is arguably the greatest win of 2018. Amendment 4, the ballot initiative that received 64% of the vote, will restore voting rights to 1.4 million Floridians with felony convictions … Continue reading Ballot Initiative Restores Felon Voting Rights in Florida
With more races being decided by ever-slimmer margins, like in Florida’s gubernatorial and senate elections, increasing attention is being paid to who can and cannot vote, and how difficult the voting process has become for certain Americans. This midterm election was decided in part by widespread voter suppression, and it’s time for Americans to acknowledge how much partisan maneuvering is to blame. In this summer’s … Continue reading Because of the Supreme Court’s Complicity, Our Elections Lack Integrity
By now, the entire country has heard the issues surrounding the governor’s race in Georgia. Under Republican candidate Brian Kemp’s supervision, massive voter suppression took place. As the sitting Secretary of State, Kemp should be held responsible for unused, still wrapped voting machines being found days after the election, hour-long lines, and tens of thousands of unprocessed registrations. Instead, he is likely to be rewarded … Continue reading Georgia’s Gubernatorial Election is a National Embarrassment
Throughout the 2016 election cycle, the media and politicians alike spoke of the forgotten voters, the Americans whose voices were not being heard and whose will was not being done in their state capitals and D.C. Via Trump’s election, many said the forgotten Americans had finally been heard, but this is not true. These Americans always had access to the ballot box, and used it. … Continue reading Ending Felony Disenfranchisement in Florida is on the Ballot
President Trump may not be able to say it, but it’s all but undeniable at this point that the Russian government attacked American democracy during the 2016 election. While the Russia story might get all of the mainstream news coverage, there’s another, more insidious assault on our democracy underway, and this one’s coming from within. Across the country, ballot initiatives– one of the only ways … Continue reading Direct Democracy is Under Attack
Yesterday, the DC City Council voted 8 to 5 to repeal the democratically enacted Initiative 77. The ballot measure would have gradually raised the tipped minimum wage until it matched the regular DC minimum wage of $15/hr. This is an outrage. This summer, Initiative 77 won the support of voters by an 11-point margin. Instead of this being the end of it, City Council has … Continue reading DC Council Repealed Voter-Approved Initiative 77
It seems like every day we see another news story about how conservative politicians found a new and innovative way to disenfranchise minority populations living in urban centers. But while voter ID laws and partisan gerrymandering (rightfully) earn significant outrage, there’s another issue discriminately shifting political power in virtually every state that’s flown under the radar: prison gerrymandering. Prison gerrymandering is the practice of state … Continue reading “One Person, One Vote” Doesn’t Count for Urban Communities
We’ve come a long way as a country in expanding voting access to more than just rich, white, male landowners. Since its passage, we’ve consistently relied on the 14th Amendment to bring us closer to an electorate truly representative of our population. But we’ve got a long way to go, and with an administration that has proven itself to be in favor of limiting access … Continue reading Brett Kavanaugh’s Aversion to the Equal Protection Clause is Troubling
It’s hard to deny that our democracy is in crisis. Two years after the 2016 Presidential election, we’re still uncovering bits and pieces of the fraud, foreign interference, and fake news that brought us this administration.
The 24th amendment, ratified in 1964, abolished the poll tax. Unfortunately, over the last 50 years, a policy of another name but similar impact has taken its place. The disenfranchisement policies of 22 states, which are widely considered to be unconstitutional, have continued the American tradition of an exclusionary electorate. It’s a well-known fact that those living in poverty have tougher lives than those who … Continue reading The Legacy of Poll Taxes and Disenfranchisement
With passage of the 13th and 14th amendments, America created two of the greatest loopholes in the country’s legal code. Immediately following their introduction, the language of the amendments led to Jim Crow, convict leasing, and chain gangs. Over 150 years later, we are seeing further harmful results of these laws in states that disenfranchise felons. Thankfully, some states are beginning to examine their policies … Continue reading Florida is being Forced to Reform its Voting Rights Restoration System
Whether it’s the monied bail system, the corruption of officers and prosecutors, or the financial interests of for-profit prisons, there are economic and institutional powers that require a consistent flow of offenders and non-offenders to be put behind bars and forever marred by the label “convict.” At the moment, a plurality of states disenfranchise citizens, sometimes for life, due to their criminal history. We would … Continue reading New Jersey Might (Finally) Do Something About its Practice of Disenfranchisment
Let Congress sort out if they can be turned into law later, the way to win is to rally people around ideas.