Analysis, Advocacy and Activism:
Major Organizations working on voting rights issues
Brennan Center for Justice visit their site
“Voting is the foundation of our democracy. The Brennan Center is at the center of the fight to preserve and expand the right to vote for every eligible citizen. Through practical policy proposals, litigation, advocacy, and communications, the Brennan Center works to ensure that voting is free, fair, and accessible for all Americans. The Center’s signature proposal to modernize the voter registration system, saves money, increases accuracy and participation — and adds an additional 50 million “voters to the rolls permanently.”
See the Brennan Center’s annual Voting Laws Roundup 2020. The news is not all negative: there are at least 308 bills to enhance voting access introduced in the 36 states and at least 46 bills to restrict access in 21 states.
Verified Voting Foundation visit their site
States its mission to be:
“Safeguarding elections in the digital age. We are a non-governmental organization working toward accuracy, integrity and verifiability of elections. We believe the integrity and strength of our democracy relies on citizen’s trust that each vote be counted as cast. Our primary concern lies in ensuring that the means for verifying election outcomes is in place and used for that purpose. We also focus on the reliability and security of voting systems.”
Congressional Voting Rights Caucus visit their site
The goal of this Caucus is to “educate the public on the current voter suppression tactics in place in their home states, districts, and counties, inform constituencies on their rights as voters, and to create and advance legislation that blocks current and future suppressive and discriminatory tactics that deny American citizens the sacred right to vote”.
American Civil Liberties Union – Voting Rights visit their site
The League of Women Voters visit their site
Actively engaged in advocacy, legal action, education and grassroots organizing, for example, voter registration drives. “Rooted in the movement that secured the right to vote for women, the League has worked to foster civic engagement and enhance access to the vote since our organization was founded in 1920. Over time our work has evolved from efforts to gain and foster women’s suffrage to ensuring that all eligible voters – particularly those from traditionally underrepresented or under-served communities, including first-time voters, non-college youth, new citizens, minorities and low-income Americans – have the opportunity and the information they need to exercise their right to vote.”
Fair Fight Action visit their site
Founded by Stacey Abrams in 2019. Its mission is to:
“advocate for election reform and engage in voter education and turnout to secure the voting rights of Georgians. In the past, the 501(c)4 arm of the organization, Fair Fight Action, conducted a large vote-by-mail program, worked with churches to register voters, educate voters about the elections, voting procedures, and voting rights, and engaged in a get-out-the-vote program to mobilize voters to vote during early voting and on election day. Fair Fight works to ensure all voters have access to the polls. It promotes fair elections in Georgia, promotes voter participation in elections, and provides voter education. Fair Fight brings awareness to the public on election reform, lobbies the state legislature for election reform and engages in targeted voter registration and other voter outreach programs and communications.”
NAACP visit their site
Active in advocacy, legal action and grassroots organization:
“The NAACP, along with our half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States, are frontline advocates committed to raising awareness for political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens in the electoral process. With approximately 2,000 adult branches, youth councils, and college chapters in 49 states, 5 countries and the District of Columbia, the NAACP is actively engaged in increasing the African American responsiveness of citizens to be fully engaged in the democratic process.”
Fair Vote visit their site
“…is a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans. FairVote has a proven record since 1992 as a nonpartisan trailblazer that advances and wins bold electoral reforms at the local, state, and national level through strategic research, communications and collaboration. Today we are the driving force behind advancing ranked choice voting and multi-winner legislative districts that together will open up our elections to better choices, fairer representation and more civil campaigns.”
Grassroots Redistricting Project visit their site
A collaboration among Run for Something, Swing Left and Arena. The aim is to combat gerrymandering by winning back state legislatures in 9 key states:
“…congressional maps get drawn every 10 years, after the Census. State legislatures have direct oversight, and in some states are even drawing the maps themselves. If we don’t win these seats in 2020, Republicans can draw the maps in their favor and guarantee they’ll win the House not just in 2022, but for the next decade.”
The National Democratic Redistricting Committee visit their site
An initiative led by President Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder.
Voteriders visit their site
A non-partisan non-profit organisation that “provides practical assistance and information to ensure voters have the right kind of ID to vote in their state. VoteRiders is the leading organization focusing exclusively on voter ID. ” Our current priority states, which have or are poised to enact stringent laws about which IDs are acceptable to vote, are: AL, AZ, FL, GA, IN, KS, MI, MO, ND, NH, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA and WI. Some of these states’ voter ID laws leave to others’ discretion whether a resident’s vote will count, or require documentary proof of citizenship to even register to vote. We expect this list to grow, as up to 12 states have pending legislation.”
Let America Vote visit their site
Focuses on grassroots activity:
“Jason Kander started Let America Vote to fight back against proposals across the country that make it harder for eligible voters to exercise their constitutional right to cast a ballot. Whether it’s extreme identification requirements, questionable purges of voter rolls, voter intimidation, new and extreme voter registration processes, or anything that makes voting harder, Let America Vote will be there to lead the way against it. Through online and grassroots organizing, an aggressive earned media strategy, and advertising, Let America Vote will play a crucial role among the existing network of organizations fighting for voting rights.”
Election Assistance Commission visit the site
The federal agency responsible for helping states improve their voting systems. From its website: EAC “is an independent, bipartisan commission established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It is charged with supporting state and local election officials in their efforts to ensure accessible, accurate and secure elections. EAC develops guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopts voluntary voting system guidelines, and serves as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as audits the use of HAVA funds.”
Vote from Abroad go there to register to vote and request your ballot!
Recommended by Democrats Abroad as the easy, efficient way to register to vote.
Journals and journalists tracking voting rights issues
Last updated 2017, so watch this space for more updates
- Daily Kos regularly posts articles on Voter Suppression
- ProPublica. Runs the Electionland Project which tracks voting problems in real time. They did this for the 2016 and 2018 elections.
- Mother Jones usually provides live updates on voting issues at the polls – for example, Live Updates of the problems at the polls so far: Live updates of Election Day snafus, shenanigans and suppression
- Ari Berman, author of Give Us the Ballot and senior writing contributor to The Nation, is always a reliable source to check. See “The GOP’s Attack on Voting Rights Was the Most Under-reported Story of 2016: This was the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Right Act”. The Nation. November 9. 2016.
- David Daley, author of Ratf**ked, former editor-in-chief of Salon, and currently the Communications Director for Fair Vote.
- Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits. 2016. For example, “The Election was Stolen – Here’s How“. November 11, 2016 and “The GOP’s Stealth War against Voters“. Rolling Stone. August 24, 2016.
Who is promoting voter suppression?
The conservative The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been an important driver in drafting ‘model legislation’ that is widely adopted by Republican state legislators since 1973. One of its aims was the tightening of Voter ID laws. However, its power ‘behind the scenes’ has been disrupted.
“In July 2011, The Nation published a series of articles produced in collaboration with the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) that showcased some of the ALEC model bills and described ties to the Koch family, and CMD launched website “ALEC Exposed” that documented more than 800 of ALEC’s model bills, the legislators and corporations that had helped to draft them, and the states that enacted them. The joint effort, and particularly its coverage of ALEC’s push for tough voter ID laws, prompted the advocacy group Color of Change to launch a public campaign to pressure corporations to withdraw their ALEC memberships.” It remains a significant force in developing right-wing legislation on a wide range of issues, but is now subject to much more scrutiny.
Diallo, Amadou. “Who is funding voter suppression?“ Aljazeera. February 12, 2016.
Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program
The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, to ‘root out voter fraud,’ was created in 2005 by the controversial Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach—the man who also championed illegal ‘voter caging’ in his state. Up to 30 states participated and over 7 million names were on these lists.
The lists were supposed to include full names, the last four digits of SS numbers and birth dates, but in practice much of this data was missing—names on the list have included supposed double voters with different middle names and no other information. Minorities were disproportionately affected. Voters don’t know they’ve been thrown off the rolls until they show up at the polls—but if just a fraction of these people were disenfranchised, the outcome of many races in these states might have been different. It’s hard to know how many voters were affected in 2016 because states don’t have to release this information.
Kobach then headed Trump’s short-lived Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.
There was a respected alternative to Crosscheck called the Electronic Registration Information Center – ERIC – started by the PEW Charitable Trust, which was accurate, reliable and helped clean up voter registration rolls, boost turnout and save states money, Eric was used by 20 states but is now archived.
Links to other organizations or publications imply neither endorsement of their policies nor any association with the Democratic Party or Democrats Abroad – UK