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UPDATE: The California legislature has passed AB 1436 and sent the bill to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature. Governor Brown has not publicly stated his position, but he has been supportive of voting rights in the past. Kathay Feng, California Common Cause: "Politicians in other states have been pushing new restrictive laws and campaigns to manipulate election results for their political gain. Governor Brown can take a stand for free and fair elections by signing Election Day Voter Registration into law." Assuming it becomes law, it will not take effect until 2015 when the state’s new voter registration database is expected to be certified.
With voting rights under attack nationwide, we must remember our democracy is only strongest when all citizens have the opportunity to participate – which is exactly why the enforcement of the National Voter Registration Act has grown increasingly paramount ahead of the November election, especially its provision affording public assistance recipients the opportunity to register to vote at public assistance agencies.
A coalition of voting rights advocates is working to hold states accountable. Litigation citing NVRA violations has been brought against nine states – most recently in Nevada against Secretary of State Ross Miller and Department of Health & Human Services Director Michael Willden. Litigation could soon follow in Alabama where Demos has joined the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Project Vote in filing notice against Secretary of State Beth Chapman.
With the nationwide attack on voting rights a regular topic of discussions these days, we must not forget that our democracy is strongest when all citizens participate – which is exactly what the National Congress of American Indians reminded us last month when it called for immediate action to empower Native voters.
On May 9, Representative Paul Broun tried to prohibit the use of Department of Justice (DOJ) funds for enforcing Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
You heard me right.
Representative Broun, a Republican whose home state of Georgia is covered by Section 5 of the VRA, tried to stop DOJ from enforcing the requirement that jurisdictions with a history of discrimination have their voting laws and regulations precleared by the federal government or a federal court before they may be changed. It is widely known that the deterrent effect of Section 5 continues to prove significant in protecting minorities against potentially discriminatory electoral changes.
The Right to Vote under Attack: The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box, a Right Wing Watch: In Focus report by PFAW Foundation, details the worst of the worst of the Right’s fight to suppress the vote. Many states have indeed taken up this fight with voter ID, proof of citizenship, and other suppressive legislation.
This weekend it was refreshing to see Connecticut buck that trend.
I just returned (ok, it was Thursday and I finally posted this on the blog now) from Demos, where they held an excellent discussion of social networking and social change. I would have blogged live but I much prefer to check my spelling and grammar on Microsoft Word and balancing a laptop actually on my lap, is well, awkward. So instead, I am semi-live blogging; coming to you slightly after the fact - but with hopefully limited grammatical errors and chock full o' analysis. Call it a compromise. Besides, I didn't have the network key to log on to the Demos network.
So grab yourself a latté and cancel all prior appointments, because we have a lot to discuss. Read on, after the break.