Tag Archives: Voter suppression

‘Dangerous and Unprecedented’: Florida GOP Gives DeSantis Power to Draw Congressional Map

“The Florida Legislature’s decision to cede this decennial process of redrawing lines for congressional districts to Gov. DeSantis is undemocratic,” said the ACLU.

By Jake Johnson  Published 4-12-2022 by Common Dreams

Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2018 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Florida’s GOP-controlled Legislature on Monday effectively handed Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis control over the process of drawing the state’s congressional map for upcoming U.S. House elections, a move that voting rights advocates decried as an “unprecedented and dangerous” abdication of responsibility.

Caving to pressure from the right-wing governor’s office, Florida’s state Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-10) and state House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-65) said in a joint statement that “at this time, Legislative reapportionment staff is not drafting or producing a map for introduction during the special session.” Continue reading

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Citing Likely Racist Motives, Federal Judge Blocks Florida GOP’s Voter Suppression Law

“At some point, when the Florida Legislature passes law after law disproportionately burdening Black voters, this court can no longer accept that the effect is incidental.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 3-31-2022 by Common Dreams

Civil rights defenders on Thursday welcomed a ruling by a federal judge who struck down parts of a Florida voter suppression law, calling racism “a motivating factor” in the GOP-backed legislation’s passage.

In a 288-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker blocked provisions of Florida’s Senate Bill 90, a massive attack on voting rights signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2020. The law empowers partisan poll watchers, imposes strict voter ID requirements, criminalizes so-called “ballot harvesting,” limits ballot drop boxes, and bans advocacy groups from handing out food or water to voters waiting in long lines. Continue reading

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Critics Warn Florida GOP Bill Designed to ‘Criminalize’ the Voting Process

“American exceptionalism and denial means that no one will admit it, but between book burning, abortion bans, criminalizing trans kids, the Supreme Court’s attack on voting rights, and now this, we are truly veering on fascism.”

By Julia Conley.  Published 3-10-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: ACLU

Florida is poised to establish a first-of-its-kind police force dedicated to stopping and investigating so-called “voter fraud” following the passage on Wednesday of a bill further overhauling the state’s voting system, a year after sweeping changes to election laws sparked outcry among voting rights advocates.

The Republican-led state House passed the new legislation, S.B. 524 in a vote of 76-41 on Wednesday, days after the state Senate approved the bill in a vote of 24-14. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had requested even more spending on an election police force than that $3.7 million plan that was passed, is expected to sign the bill. Continue reading

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Just 6% of US House Seats Expected to Be Competitive Thanks to Rigged Maps

Gerrymandered congressional districts come alongside a wave of GOP voter suppression laws.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 2-17-2022 by Common Dreams

A ‘Vote Here’ sign outside an election polling place at Woodbury City Hall in Woodbury, Minnesota during the 2020 general election. Photo: Tony Webster/flickr/CC

In a major blow to the democratic principle that lawmakers are accountable to voters who can remove them from office, the vast majority of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are becoming non-competitive—a trend that critics say threatens to exacerbate GOP extremism as incumbents in solidly red districts shift further right to fend off more reactionary primary challengers.

Several months into the decennial redistricting process, 335 congressional districts have been redrawn as of Thursday. Just 27 of them are considered competitive—meaning neither Democrats nor Republicans have an advantage of more than five points—according to FiveThirtyEight. Continue reading

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Poor People’s Campaign Readies ‘Massive, Nonviolent’ Effort to Save Democracy

“We are not in this for a moment, but for a movement,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. “Our deadline is victory.”

By Jake Johnson.  Pubished 1-16-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Becker1999/flickr/CC

Don’t call it a day of action.

On June 18, the Poor People’s Campaign and its partners in organized labor, the civil rights movement, and religious communities are planning to mobilize their members and allies from across the U.S. to Washington, D.C. for what they hope will be the “largest mass assembly of poor people and low-wage workers in this nation’s history.”

But Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, cautioned against viewing the impending “massive, nonviolent” march on the nation’s capital as a singular event, one whose energy and demands will fade as soon as that June Saturday ends. Continue reading

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Half of Mail-In Ballot Requests Rejected in Key Texas County

Democracy defenders contend that Texas’ newly enacted restrictions on mail-in ballots are part of a nationwide pattern of Republican efforts to disenfranchise minority voters.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 1-14-2022 by Common Dreams

Voting rights advocates responded with alarm to reports this week that around half of the mail-in voting applications in Texas’ fifth-largest county have been rejected as a result of a recently enacted voter suppression law that experts say is part of a nationwide Republican effort to restrict access to the polls.

According to The Texas Tribune, election officials in Travis County—home of the state capital, Austin—said they have rejected around half of the 700 requested vote-by-mail applications they’ve received so far ahead of the March primaries. The officials say they are complying with S.B. 1, a controversial law signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott last September. Continue reading

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Over 200 ‘Vigils for Democracy’ Planned Across US to Commemorate January 6

“We must not forget what happened last January 6,” say organizers, “and we must demand action from our leaders to prevent another attack on our democracy.”

By Julia Conley  Published 1-3-2022 by Common Dreams

Makeshift Fence Memorials to Capitol Police Officers Brian D. Sicknick and Howard Liebengood o January 12, 2021. Photo: Elvert Barnes/Wikimedia/CC

To mark the one-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and demand free and fair elections, more than 200 grassroots-organized candlelit vigils are planned for Thursday in cities and towns across the United States.

The vigils will be held in nearly every state in the country, with some gatherings including voter registration drives and voter outreach events to counteract what organizers say is an effort by “the same faction that attacked our country on January 6” to restrict voting rights and attack fair voting districts all while “quietly preparing future attempts to sabotage free and fair elections and with [them] our democracy.” Continue reading

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A crisis of democracy in the US – what to watch for in 2022

The future is gloomy, with abortion rights threatened, rampant voter suppression and radical Republicans undermining democracy at every turn

By Chrissy Stroop  Published 12-30-2021 by openDemocracy

The March to Save America rally on January 6 2021 that preceded the US Capitol ‘insurrection. Photo: Blink O’fanaye/flickr/CC

Sad to say, when it comes to political life and civil society in the United States, 2021 has not given proponents of democracy and human rights much to celebrate.

The year was dominated by three negative trends: the authoritarian Right’s ‘Big Lie’ that the 2020 presidential election was ‘stolen’ from former president Donald Trump; the impact of Republican stacking of the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, with far-Right extremists; and the relative impotence of President Joe Biden’s administration to pursue necessary reforms in the face of Republican obstruction, even with a nominal legislative majority. Continue reading

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In First, US Labeled ‘Backsliding’ Democracy as Global Authoritarianism Grows

A new report calls the rejection of the 2020 election results by many in the Republican Party as an “historic turning point” for the United States.

By Julia Conley. Published 11-22-2021 by Common Dreams

The Capitol riot. Photo: Blink O’fanaye/flickr/CC

For the first time in its four years of compiling annual data on the state of democracy around the world, an international think tank added the United States to its list of “backsliding” democracies in the report it released Monday, pointing to factors including politicians’ continued false claims that the 2020 presidential election results were illegitimate as one of the key elements weakening the country’s democratic system.

The Global State of Democracy report, released by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), called former President Donald Trump’s public questioning of the election results in November 2020 “a historic turning point” both for U.S. democracy and the world, pointing to a knock-on effect in several countries. Continue reading

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As Fascist GOP Threat Grows, Dems Verge on Historic Failure to Secure Voting Rights

“Mark my words,” warned former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. “If we don’t pass the For the People Act, the GOP is going to gerrymander their way to a House majority—and they may never give it up.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-6-2021

Moral March on Manchin & McConnell by Poor Peoples Campaign, Washington, D.C. Phpto: Frypie/CC

The window for action to protect voting rights from the GOP’s nationwide assault is rapidly closing as Democrats—despite controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House—fail to take the steps necessary to pass federal legislation that would expand ballot access, restore the gutted Voting Rights Act of 1965, and end partisan gerrymandering.

Progressive warnings about the implications of continued inaction on voting rights have grown increasingly dire in recent weeks as state governments—nearly two dozen of which are completely dominated by Republicans—prepare to redraw their 10-year congressional maps for upcoming elections and implement new ballot restrictions. Continue reading

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