Voter Access Protection/Election Integrity

Voter Access Protection/Election Integrity (44)

A botched voter purge prevented thousands from voting—and empowered a new generation of voting-rights critics.

On November 7, 2000, Willie Steen, a Navy vet who had served in the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm, went to cast his ballot for president at the St. Francis Episcopal Church in Tampa, Florida.

One of the nation’s whitest, coldest and most rural states may have a new superlative to add to the list: most democratic.

After taking 22 factors into account, Maine’s democracy ranks healthiest in the nation in a new report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the advocacy wing of the liberal Center for American Progress. Alabama’s was weakest, though even top-ranking Maine was far from perfect.

Fifty years ago, African-Americans were denied the right to vote. Now the vast majority of Americans are being denied the rightful value of their vote.

In November 1963, Evelyn Butts, a seamstress and mother of three from Norfolk, Virginia,
filed the first lawsuit in federal court challenging her state’s $1.50 poll tax. Annie Harper, a retired domestic worker from Fairfax County, filed a companion suit five months later. In March 1966, the Supreme Court overruled two previous decisions and overturned Virginia’s poll tax, stating that economic status could not be an obstacle to casting a ballot.

The United States is the world’s largest democracy, we spend an obscene amount of money on elections–more than any other country–and we have the lowest voter turnout. The trend has been: the more money that is spent, the lower the turnout.

Since the 2014 election– which had the lowest voter turnout since 1942– many people have been asking: Why aren’t Americans voting? When you consider thehorrible financial mess the Tea Party is making of red states like Arizona, there also been a lot of non-voter bashing and shaming. But does that do any good? I think not.

New bill signed Monday means that any eligible voter who does business with the Department of Motor Vehicles will be automatically registered

Bucking the nation-wide trend of eroding voting rights, the state of Oregon on Tuesday signed into law a bill that will make it easier to cast a ballot—by implementing the country's first automatic registration for eligible voters when they get drivers' licenses and identification documents.

 

Electoral integrity has not improved in the U.S. over the past year, according to a new study. In fact, elections in Mexico now have more integrity than ours, the new survey, based on the observations of some 1,400 international election experts, finds.

Last year we reported: "A report [PDF] by researchers at Harvard and the University of Sydney finds the U.S. ranks just 26th on a global index of election integrity. That finding places the U.S. in the category of nations with 'Moderate' election integrity, ranking the country one notch above Mexico and one notch below Micronesia, according to the findings tracking elections in 66 countries."

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the "Bloody Sunday" assault in Alabama, where on March 7, 1965, police violently assaulted hundreds of demonstrators attempting to march from Selma to Montgomery to protest the fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Jimmie Lee Jackson.

 

Last month, I attended the Ninth Annual Voting And Elections Summit in Washington, hosted by Fair Vote, The Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, US Vote Foundation, and Overseas Vote Foundation, each a progressive organization dedicated to the betterment of elections in the United States. The summit was indeed a gathering of very bright, motivated, devoted, and patriotic individuals and organizations, whose efforts I deeply appreciate.

As Chuy Garcia gains momentum, another city seems possible.

As the gears of federal government have ground to a halt, a new energy has been rocking the foundations of our urban centers. From Atlanta to Seattle and points in between, cities have begun seizing the initiative, transforming themselves into laboratories for progressive innovation. Cities Rising is The Nation’s chronicle of those urban experiments. 

California has the most votes at stake on Super Tuesday, but counting those returns could take a lot longer than usual. Electronic voting machines in more than 20 counties have been scrapped because of security concerns.

In the 2000 presidential election, Riverside became the first county in the nation to move entirely to electronic voting.

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