The year 2018 will mark the seventh year of a brutally effective state by state voter suppression movement. In 2011, immediately following the 2010 Elections and a changeover in many state legislatures, scores of voter restriction bills were proposed and adopted, including onerous photo Voter ID bills; cuts to early voting; elimination of Sunday voting; voter registration group restrictions; reductions of polling sites; and other major barriers making it difficult for African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, people with disabilities, women, students, returning citizens, LGBTQIA, especially transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, and low-income citizens to register and participate in the franchise.
On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Shelby v. Holder which not only eviscerated a principal tool for attacking these new voter suppression schemes in the federal courts, it also emboldened jurisdictions to enact even more voter suppression measures.
This anti-Democracy movement continues to escalate. In 2017, over 90 new forms of voter term suppression legislation were proposed in over 30 different states. Most notably, President Trump composed an Advisory Committee on Election Integrity which was stacked with known voter suppressors, including Kris Kobach, Secretary of State of Kansas as its Vice-Chair. After much controversy, confusion and litigation, including the refusal of many states to provide invasive voter data, on January 3, 2018 President Trump issued an executive order dissolving his Commission and instructing the Department of Homeland Security carry forth this agenda by reviewing data collected and making recommendations. On January 4th, President Trump renewed his complaints of massive, widespread voter fraud and urged states to adopt photo voter ID laws. In addition, the Public Interest Law Foundation has undertaken a nationwide voter purging campaign, based on faulty data, threatening litigation against thousands of jurisdictions should they fail to eliminate voters from the rolls. The recent elections held on November 7, 2017 were marred by deceptive practices, voter intimidation and outright racist appeals including robo-calls placed in Virginia misdirecting voters to the wrong polling sites; racist flyers against candidates of color; an infamous flyer telling voters to vote from home; and racist appeals.
In the December 12th, Alabama Senate election, voter suppression reared its ugly Hydra heads in several different forms including onerous photo voter ID requirements; “voter caging” resulting in thousands of regular voters being placed on the inactive list; 200,000 voters caught in limbo by Alabama felony disenfranchisement law; malfunctioning election equipment; understaffed and too few polls; lack of disability accessibility; and police operations at polls.
Fortunately, there is an aggressive civil rights and voting rights community which has organized to fight in the courts and in the state legislatures against these measures but most of this opposition is unknown to the public. And, the spirit of the people, especially Black women, is strong in mobilizing to elect more diverse and progressive candidates and in resisting attempts to undermine our democracy and our vote!
The NCVJ will address and preemptively strategize a voter empowerment initiative that addresses the following: voter registration, universal early voting, automatic voter registration at 18 and restoration of voting rights for returning citizens. This Commission will be a high profile and vital voice in presenting a counter-narrative to President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission and the myth of widespread voter fraud. Crucial to its work will be a strong and intricate collaboration with national, state, regional and local voting rights, civil rights, racial justice, disability rights, civic engagement, LGBTQIA, and student organizations, labor and tribal nations to undertake and promote the work of the Commission.
The National Commission for Voter Justice is coordinated by the Transformative Justice Coalition and is composed of some of our nation’s foremost leaders and advocates as follows:
Voter Justice News
By JULIA RITCHEY Automatic voter registration is gaining traction in statehouses across the country. A bill making its way through the legislature could make it a reality in Utah. Sen. Deidre Henderson’s bill, S.B. 112, would automatically register Utahns...
Welcome to the 2018 Elections! This could be a historic year at the ballot box. Republicans are looking to sweep all the statewide offices again, but Democrats have fielded more candidates for more races than they have in years. To help you navigate through all of...
Jan 10, 2018, 2:50pm Auditi Guha Voter ID laws hurt "people of color, poor people, the elderly, and people living in rural areas—in other words, the majority of Mainers. Gov. LePage has already lost on this issue multiple times. It's time for him to move...