What Actions The Voting Rights Alliance is Taking to Help
Protect The Vote
The Voting Rights Alliance launches
Mother’s Day Voter Registration Week!
May 1st – May 10th, 2020
Due to the serious decline in the amount of voter registrations because of the nationwide shutdown because of COVID-19, this edition of the Transformer and the work of the Transformative Justice Coalition for the next several weeks will be focused on encouraging and supporting voter registration.
— Transformative Justice Coalition (@TJC_DC) May 1, 2020
We created a new resource panel for voters and activists!
Click the picture below to access.
We joined 150+ groups in urging Congress to include at least $2B in its stimulus package to help states prepare for elections and adopt policy measures to ensure public safety AND an inclusive and fair voting process for 2020 elections.
The Voting Rights Alliance is celebrating Black History Month 2020
It’s that time of year again! For the 4th year in a row, the Transformative Justice Coalition and the Voting Rights Alliance, in honor of Black History Month, is reprinting its #VRABlackHistory series (originally created in 2017; all articles updated in 2018; all graphics updated in 2020). In addition to 10 NEW articles this year, the series will also start off its first 7 days with stories of Black women involved in the Women’s Suffrage Movement in honor of the 100th Year Anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
Today, February 28, on this last day of Black History Month, we end of the #VRABlackHistory Series with a special two-part extended edition as we honor The Transformative Justice Coalition and educate about what you can do to advance voting rights.
Today, February 24, 2017, we honorthe Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. The Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. marched in Selma with Martin Luther King, Jr.; was a major-party presidential candidate twice; and, still advocates for many of the original causes on which he campaigned.
Today, February 23, 2017, we honor Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm, who was the first African-American woman in Congress in 1968; and, was the first African-American and African-American woman to make a serious presidential bid for a major party in 1972.
Today we are educating about the rise of modern voter suppression. Our focus will be on the United State’s Supreme Court’s 2013 decision of Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. 2 (2013), which ruled Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) unconstitutional.
Today we honor the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the landmark legislation that outlawed the discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting. This ‘act to enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution‘ was signed into law 95 years after the amendment was ratified.
Today we honor Fannie Lou Hamer, who was a seminal figure in the fight for African American voting rights and political power in the 1960’s.
Join us all month long as we share the legacies and stories of the sheroes, heroes, and events in the fight for Black suffrage on social media under the hashtag #VRABlackHistory. Follow us on Twitter (@VRAmatters) to share your own facts.
Today, February 27, 2017, we honor Congressman John Lewis, who has put his heart, soul, skin, blood, and tears into the fight for African-American suffrage. Congressman John Lewis was “a leading participant in nearly all of the pivotal events of the civil rights movement”.
Today we honor the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the landmark legislation that “…outlawed the discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting.
Today, February 20, 2017. we honorAmelia Platts Boynton Robinson, who ” was a civil rights pioneer who championed voting rights for African Americans.” What better way to honor President’s Day then to honor Amelia Boynton? Boynton was at the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the honored guest of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Boynton was also the honored guest of President Obama in his January 2015 State of the Union address and she marched with him hand-in-hand on the Edmund Pettus Bridge commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Selma-To-Montgomery March.
Today, February 19, 1017, we honor Fannie Lou Hamer, who was a seminal figure in the fight for African American voting rights and political power in the 1960’s. “During the course of her activist career, Hamer was threatened, arrested, beaten, and shot at. But none of these things ever deterred her from her work.” Although Fannie Lou Hamer came from a poor background and wasn’t highly educated, she was a fierce advocate who was able to galvanize, mobilize, and inspire a movement.
Today, February 18, 2017, we honor the Children’s Crusade. The Children’s Crusade was the successful effort by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and its leaders, Martin Luther King Jr, Rev. James Bevel, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, and Dorothy Cotton to desegregate Birmingham, Alabama.
Today we honor Mary Eliza Church Terrell. Mary was a strong advocate for Black woman suffrage, often highlighting the struggles that Black women had to go through that White women didn’t. Mary did a lot in her life, but her main focus was voting rights, as she recognized and said that she “belonged ‘to the only group in this country that has two obstacles to surmount, both sex and race.’”
Today, February 14, 2017, we honor George H. White, who was a lawyer and the last of the Black Reconstruction Congressmen, departing in 1901.What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to honor a man who passionately loved the law, his country, and his race?
Today, February 12, 2017, we honor the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which outlaws discrimination in voting rights on the basis of race, color, and previous condition of servitude; thereby advancing suffrage for African Americans (although only men could vote at that time).
Toda, Febraury 7, 2017, we honor Frederick Douglass. What would a series dedicated to those who advanced Black suffrage be without mention of Frederick Douglass, the man who advocated for suffrage for ALL African Americans, regardless of gender?
Today, February 6, 2017, we honor Robert Purvis, a Black man who lost his voting rights in the early 1800’s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On March 14, 1838, Purvis submitted a petition to fight for his and 40,000 other Black Philadelphians’ voting rights in response to a new state constitutional amendment that restricted suffrage to only White men.
Today we honor Prince Hall of Boston, who was not only a registered voter of his day, but a staunch abolitionist and civil rights activist who used the power of petitions to effectively petition the government to gain rights for Blacks.
The Urban League of Philadelphia and the National Commission for Voter Justice present their “Operation Education” resources:
September is Voting Rights Month!
ENDORSE the Voting Rights Resolution: Support September as “National Voting Rights Month”
This September, Congressman Marc Veasey is leading a resolution in the House to designate September as “National Voting Rights Month” AND to urge Congress to pass H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2019, H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019, and H.R. 2722, the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act.
The purpose of this resolution is to help end voter suppression by bringing awareness to the present voter suppression laws, educate Americans on their rights as voters, urge Congress to pass critical voting rights legislation, and encourage all Americans to get out and vote!
Oklahoma City – Today Oklahoma State Conference National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), is calling on the State Board of Elections to immediately suspend its plans to purge 134,000 registered voters from the voting rolls. These actions by the State Board of Elections is a threat to voting rights stated, Anthony R. Douglas, President, Oklahoma State NAACP, Former Member National Board of Director, NAACP.
“This Voter Purge is based on a shaky foundation and will greatly harm unaware voters of this threat to their democratic right to vote.” Allegedly, the State Board sent mailers to voters to confirm their current address or update their registrations. In addition, Oklahoma State Conference, NAACP is demanding that the Board reveal the racial, ethnic, gender, county, and income information of those on the list to be purged. Data collected throughout the nation shows that African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, low-income, students, voters with disabilities are disproportionately harmed by these “use it or lose it” voter purging processes.
The Voting Rights Alliance’s 2018 Command Center recap:
What problems did voters experience nationwide?
Administered by the Transformative Justice Coalition , on November 6 th , 2018, the Voting Rights Alliance aided voters with a Non-partisan National Election Command Center which monitored social media complaints made by voters. The Command Center, which was staffed by 20 Howard University Law Students and members of the Voting Rights Alliance, was hosted by the Hip Hop Caucus at its DC office. The Command Center generated the bulk of 102,000 impressions and 330 tweets from the Voting Rights Alliance’s Twitter account . Volunteers also made over 200 reports of problems voter experienced while voting covering a vast majority of states. Common problems included: long lines; closed or late opening polling locations; voter registration problems; denial of provisional ballots; last minute polling place relocations; broken scanners and machines; no ballots; absentee ballot problems; wrong or incomplete ballots given; voter intimidation; confusing flyers on a college campus; voter ID confusion; no disability accessibility; no bilingual translators; cell phone use confusion; Uber taking people to wrong polling place; disorganized election administrations; no electricity at polling places to operate machines; exact match ballot rejections; vote flipping; and, other serious vote denial problems. A report from the Command Center will be compiled and shared with the public.
Rep. Moore Fights to Re-Enfranchise Incarcerated Americans
Washington D.C. – [On Dec 20th], Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) introduced H.R. 7359, the Voter Information and Access Act (VIAA). VIAA would provide detained and incarcerated persons, who are eligible to vote, information on voting eligibility,…
Quoted from the above article , “‘The VIAA will provide critical voting rights information and assistance for millions of eligible voters who currently are hindered in participating in the electoral process. Hundreds of thousands of these potential voters need assistance while jailed awaiting trial without access to voter registration or voting access. Tragically, an estimated 17 million, eligible Returning Citizens, are caught in a limbo of fear, confusion, miseducation or lack of information about their voting rights and do not participate as voters. The VIAA answers a vital need in fulfilling the quest for an inclusive and robust Democracy,’ said Barbara R. Arnwine , President, Transformative Justice Coalition .” [emphasis added]
This bill will need to be re-introduced in the 116th Congress.
“In a major step toward fixing our broken system of elections, House Democratic lawmakers introduced a comprehensive democracy reform bill on the first day of the 116th Congress.
The bill, which is known as H.R. 1, or the For The People Act , and was sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), would create a more responsive and representative government by making it easier for voters to cast a ballot and harder for lawmakers to gerrymander, by transforming how campaigns are funded to amplify the voices of ordinary Americans, and by bolstering election security and government ethics”
See source and read the full text of the bill below:
For the People Act of 2019 | Brennan Center for Justice
HR1 – To expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and for other purposes.
In November, Florida voters passed Amendment 4 with 65 percent of the vote — restoring voting rights to 1.4 million people with a past felony conviction — the largest voting rights expansion since the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The amendment went into effect yesterday — January 8, 2019 — meaning Floridians who meet the criteria of the amendment can begin registering to vote.
This is the beginning of the largest enfranchisement of U.S. citizens in more than 50 years, and the 1.4 million Floridians impacted are treating this milestone as a moment of celebration.
If you or someone you know has a past felony conviction and meets the criteria of Amendment 4, be sure to connect with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to help with the registration process and ensure voting rights are upheld for all who are impacted.
See below for more information:
Amendment 4 FAQ – Florida Rights Restoration Coalition
The amendment goes into effect on January 8th, 2019; Yes. Returning Citizens (people with former felony convictions) who have completed their sentence and have not been convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense can register to vote starting…
With the November 6, 2018 midterm elections rapidly approaching, we note with alarm and urgency the tremendous voter suppression tactics sweeping our nation, including barriers, obstacles, misinformation, threats, racist appeals and irregularities confronting voters attempting to participate in our Democracy.
WE ARE AT WAR TO PRESERVE OUR DEMOCRACY!
When it comes to our American Democracy, we are facing a War of Attacks on our Voting Rights which were secured over numerous generations through the blood and sacrifice of our ancestors and ordinary citizens. Indeed, our nation is in the grips…
On September 12th, from 2:30-4:30 PM, at the Washington Convention Center, Room 147A, Honorary Host, Congressman Bobby Rush will present a special program on “Advancing Voter Justice and #VoterVigilance: A Special Presentation on the fight for the Vote and Speak Out”, co-sponsored by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and the National Commission for Justice Justice. Watch the Facebook livestream below:
On September 12th, Honorary Host, Congressman Bobby Scott, presents the “National Black Law Students Association Voter Protection Forum,” from 5:00-6:30 PM, at the Washington Convention Center, Room 144A. Watch the Facebook livestream below:
NATIONAL VOTING RIGHTS MONTH
On September 12th 2018, Congressman Veasey and Senator Wyden are introducing bicameral resolution to designate September as “National Voting Rights Month”
The purpose of this resolution is to end voter suppression by bringing awareness to the present voter suppression laws, educate Americans on their rights as voters, and encourage all Americans to get out and vote! Currently, there are over 110 Members of Congress and over 20 voting rights and civil rights organizations supporting this resolution.
Encourage public schools and universities to develop academic curriculums that educate student on the importance of voting, registration, voting history, and voting suppression laws.
Push Congress to pass legislation that allow all citizens, upon reaching the age of 18, to be automatically enrolled to vote in Federal elections.
Recommend that Congress allocate funds for public service announcements on various media channels to encourage Americans to vote.
Request that the Department of the Treasury issue a special Fannie Lou Hamer stamp during the month of September to recognize Americans who fought for voting rights.
On September 12 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Eastern Time, Congressman Marc Veasey will have a #VOTE twitter storm to amplify the resolution.
Click on the link below for social posts and graphics for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. The #VOTE signs are attached. Also, if you have expressed interest in releasing a statement of support for the resolution, please feel free to tag us on our social media handles:
Georgia County Rejects Plan to Close 7 Polling Places in …
CUTHBERT, Ga. – The consultant, a white man, came to the mainly black Randolph County in rural southern Georgia and recommended that it eliminate seven of its nine polling places. He said the move would save the county money. He said the polling…
Take action for those who can’t vote on primary day:
The unfinished work of the Civil Rights Moment: Second Chances Florida
The very powerful Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Second Chances Convening was just held. Nearly 500 people —including many returning citizens with past felony convictions and many student leaders — participated in this powerful 3 day event as they prepare to make history in less than 90 days by restoring the eligibility to vote to 1.4 million people. This week, Florida voters head to the polls, but 1.4 million Floridians with past convictions won’t be able to vote because they are permanently barred from voting, even after serving their time and paying their debts. But you can help us change this broken system.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Adopt A Day. Help boost Second Chances’ phone banking program by adopting a day once a month (or more often) to be your organization’s day for remote phone banking to Florida voters to let them know why it’s so important to vote YES on Amendment 4 this November. You’ll be responsible for filling up the phones one day M-Th, 5:30-8:30pm ET – with the goal of recruiting at least 20 callers for your shift (which means getting 40 to sign-up, so 20 show-up).You can do this virtually with your membership or host a call party with your staff. If each partner takes one day we can keep the calls rolling out. Fill out this form to adopt days in the coming months.
Voting Rights Alliance Conference Call – new member sign up
In honor of Black History Month, the Voting Rights Alliance created a historic archive of the legacies and stories of the heroes, sheroes, and events in the fight for Black suffrage. Each day of Black History Month 2017, the Voting Rights Alliance shared a new calendar article, honoring a person, organization, or event, from over 5 centuries that forever changed the movement for the right to vote for African Americans and all Americans.
We shared each article on social media underneath the hashtag #VRABlackHistory. Follow us on Twitter (@VRAmatters) to see the series’ tweets. We also emailed these articles out every morning of February 2017. For 2018, we will be resurrecting this series and introducing 8 new articles!
We don't do enough to praise people who vote in the United States of America, so the Voting Rights Alliance is taking full advantage of all #280characters & saying a big THANK YOU to EVERYONE, the over 40% of Americans who had an election today, who went out & voted #ElectionDay