Category Archives: Voting

Voting Rights Advocates Warn of Impending ‘Disaster’ in Kentucky After Bid to Increase Slashed Number of Polling Sites Fails

Jefferson County has a population of roughly 767,000 and will have just one polling location.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-20-2020

Photo: Big Dubya/flickr

Voting rights advocates sounded alarm Friday after a federal judge denied an effort to expand the number of polling places in Kentucky.

The state, which holds a primary election on June 23 in which Democrats will determine the candidate to face off against Sen. Mitch McConnell, will have “[f]ewer than 200 polling places,” reported the Washington Post, “down from 3,700 in a typical election year.” Continue reading

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Federal Judge Upholds Expanded Absentee Ballot Law in Virginia, Blocking Right-Wing Group’s Attempt at Voter Suppression

“No voter should have to choose between their health and their right to vote during the pandemic.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-1-2020

Photo: Tom Arthur [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Civil rights advocates applauded a victory for voting rights Monday after a federal judge denied a right-wing group’s request to restrict the use of absentee ballots in Virginia.

The Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law argued last week in favor of upholding the law, passed by Democratic legislators in February, which would allow Virginia voters to use absentee ballots in the 2020 election without providing an excuse. Continue reading

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‘Watershed Moment in Election Law’ as Judge Rules ‘Modern Day Poll Tax’ in Florida Unconstitutional

Advocates for restoring the voting rights of people with past convictions welcomed the ruling as “a powerful reminder that no one can trump the U.S. Constitution.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-25-2020

Screenshot: MSNBC

Civil liberties advocates celebrated after a federal court on Sunday struck down as unconstitutional a Florida law that would have denied the right to vote to nearly a million recently enfranchised state residents with past felony convictions until they paid all outstanding legal fees, fines, and restitution.

After Florida voters in November 2018 overwhelming backed Amendment 4—a ballot initiative that restored the voting rights of Floridians who have fully completed their sentences for felony convictions other than murder or sex crimes—state lawmakers passed legislation that critics condemned as a “modern day poll tax.” Continue reading

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Think Trump and Republicans Wouldn’t Try to Cancel an Election? Look at What GOP in Georgia Just Pulled Off

“Having NO election is rigging an election.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-19-2020

 

Brian Kemp takes the oath of office becoming the 83rd Governor of the state of Georgia Jan. 14, 2019 at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Photo: Georgia National Guard/CC

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp will be permitted to hand-pick the state’s next Supreme Court Justice after that same high court ruled last week that a special election set for Tuesday could be canceled.

Kemp and his Secretary of State, Brad Raffensberger, moved to cancel voting in the state earlier this year after state Supreme Court Justice Keith Blackwell announced he would step down after his six-year term expires at the end of 2020. Continue reading

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Growing Number of COVID-19 Cases in Wisconsin Fuels National Demands for Vote-by-Mail

“Congress is running out of time to ensure that the chaos that happened in Wisconsin doesn’t unfold on a national scale come November.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-27-2020

Photo: Don Moynihan/flickr

The increasing number of COVID-19 cases among people who voted in-person for Wisconsin’s April 7 election is fueling demands for Congress to help fund the implementation of expanded vote-by-mail provisions in every state for the rest of this year, particularly for the nation’s general election scheduled for November.

“So far, 36 people who tested COVID-19 positive after April 9 have reported that they voted in person or worked the polls on election day,” Jennifer Miller, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, told Politico Monday As the outlet reported: Continue reading

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Calling US Postal Service ‘A Joke,’ Trump Demands Four-Fold Price Hike for Customers Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

Such a move, say critics, “would be a disaster for millions of Americans who rely on USPS.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-24-2020

Postal workers and critics of the Trump administration’s plans to privatize the United States Postal Service (USPS) carried signs at a Los Angeles protest on Oct. 8, 2018. (Photo: Chloe Osmer/Twitter)

President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to withhold all future Covid-19 relief funding from the U.S. Postal Service unless the federal agency dramatically raises its shipping prices—a demand that critics say is ludicrous given the economic calamity the American people and the post office are now facing.

After U.S. Secretary Steven Mnuchin fielded a question about relief funding for USPS from a reporter at the White House during a bill signing ceremony Friday, Trump declared that “the Postal Service is a joke, because they’re handing out packages for Amazon and other internet companies, and every time they bring a package they lose money on it.” Continue reading

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‘A Day That Will Live in Infamy’: This Is What It Looked Like When Wisconsin Forced In-Person Voting During a Pandemic

“People are being forced to risk their lives to place their vote or fulfill their right as an American to vote.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-7-2020

Photo: Don Moynihan/flickr

As footage of Wisconsin’s crowded polling stations flooded the internet Tuesday, public health officials and civil rights advocates condemned the state’s Supreme Court and Republican legislative leaders for allowing in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic and thwarting Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ last-minute efforts to address voter safety concerns.

“It’s not going to be a safe election. People are going to get sick from this,” Brook Soltvedt, a 60-year-old textbook editor who is in charge of running the polling place at Thoreau Elementary School in Madison, Wisconsin’s capital, told The Cap Times. Continue reading

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Closing polling places is the 21st century’s version of a poll tax

Californians wait in line to vote on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020. AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Joshua F.J. Inwood, Pennsylvania State University and Derek H. Alderman, University of Tennessee

Delays and long lines at polling places during recent presidential primary elections – such as voters in Texas experienced – represent the latest version of decades-long policies that have sought to reduce the political power of African Americans in the U.S.

Following the Civil War and the extension of the vote to African Americans, state governments worked to block black people, as well as poor whites, from voting. One way they tried to accomplish this goal was through poll taxes – an amount of money each voter had to pay before being allowed to vote. Continue reading

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‘Good News for Democracy’: Wisconsin Appeals Court Rejects Voter Purge Targeting More Than 200,000 People

“A win over voter suppression is a win for the people of Wisconsin.”

By for Common Dreams. Published 2-28-2020

A Wisconsin appeals court overturned a ruling that would have allowed the purge of more than 200,000 from the state voter rolls before the 2020 general election. (Photo: Penn State/flickr/cc)

Voting rights advocates applauded a Wisconsin appeals court ruling Friday which is set to stop a voter purge from going forward—sparing more than 200,000 people from having their names removed from voter lists.

A three-judge panel unanimously rejected a lawsuit filed by conservative law group Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty arguing that the voter purge of about 209,000 should go forward ahead of the 2020 election.

The decision represented “good news for democracy for all,” tweeted Mary Kay Henry, president of the SEIU. Continue reading

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It’s 2020 and Florida’s Supreme Court Just Ruled in Favor of a Poll Tax

“Florida cannot violate the U.S. Constitution’s protections. The right to vote cannot be contingent on the ability to pay.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-16-2020

Florida voters in November 2018 overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights to 1.4 million people with past felony convictions. (Photo: Public Citizen/Twitter)

Florida’s state Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of denying convicted felons the right to vote if they do not pay fines and fees associated with their incarceration, a decision that was immediately assailed by rights activists as an unconstitutional and immoral poll tax.

In a statement condemning the ruling (pdf), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Florida, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund said the ruling “does not—indeed, cannot—alter what the U.S. Constitution requires.” Continue reading

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