Is There Any Good News About Voting Rights?

Celebrated voting rights attorney Marc Elias went on Rachel Maddow’s show last night to sound the alarm on the incredible amount of voter suppression that is being hatched in state legislatures across the country.

And it is pretty bad. I’ve written about it before, and will continue to, because it’s far too important an issue to ignore. But today, I want to point out some good news on the voting rights front.

This past Sunday, which was the 56th anniversary of the Selma March, President Biden signed an executive order that directs federal agencies to promote voting access and awareness, including helping to register voters.

In Maryland, the state House passed a bill that would allow Maryland voters to permanently vote by mail. The bill now moves on to the Senate where a similar bill has already received a hearing.

In Utah, the legislature has given its final approval for a law that would allow cities to experiment with ranked-choice voting.

In Oregon, a bill advanced by the Black, Indigenous and People of Color Caucus to give voters the option of including information about their race, ethnicity, and preferred language with their voter registration, is advancing through the legislature. The aim of this bill is to collect better information so that community organizations and state and county elections officials could better identify and address voting inequalities.

In Idaho, the state House (majority Republicans) has passed a bill that mandates that the county clerk has to notify voters if there is anything wrong with their absentee ballot, and give the voter a chance to fix it.

In New Mexico, the House has passed a bill to expand voting protections for Native Americans living on reservations. Every Native nation, tribe, pueblo, etc. would have at least one polling place.

New Jersey is on the verge of passing a bill to create an in-person early voting period. A bill has passed the Senate, the corollary in the state House is almost complete, and they will just need to be reconciled before heading to the governor’s desk for signature.

If voter suppression bills can’t be stopped in the legislature, the next step is to sue the moment the bill is signed into law. Marc Elias (of Democracy Docket) filed a lawsuit on behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa to challenge the state’s new law shortening the time to absentee vote and the number of hours the polls are open on Election Day.

And of course, last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the For The People Act (HR1), the most important piece of legislation for voting rights since the 1965 Voting Rights Act!

As always, please be in touch with both your federal and state-level legislators. They are supposed to be doing work on your behalf, so be in touch with them and let them know that you support an expansion of voting rights!


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2 replies

  1. Tokyo, when one party whose demographic projections require them to suppress voting, with the other party looking to make it easier to vote, that should speak volumes in and of itself. Since the 2010 midterms, the now Trump party has had a concerted effort to suppress votes, which continues to this day. And, it continues leveraging off the seditious former president’s unproven claims of wide-spread voter fraud, which his AG called “bulls**t” before he was asked to leave by the president back in December.

    The problem with voting in America is too few people voting. The last presidential election set a record, but it is still short of where it should be. Living in NC, I saw first hand the Jim Crow-like Voter ID law that was passed, but eventually ruled unconstitutional. The same happened with the gerrymandered districts, which even Republicans realized hurt them. The gerrymandering allowed too many extreme candidates (the conspiracy parrots, eg) to get elected making the now Trump party have to defend more inanity. It is hard to take a party seriously when their serious-minded people get vilified and retire.

    Keith

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