Tag Archives: Voting

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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Federal Judge Blocks NC’s Voter ID Law, Citing State’s ‘Sordid History’ of Racist Voter Suppression

Judge Loretta Biggs said the law’s provision preventing voters from showing public assistance ID cards to vote was “particularly suspect.”

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

Photo: Pinterest

Civil rights advocates on Tuesday praised a federal judge in North Carolina who struck down the state’s new voter ID law, saying in her ruling that there was likely “discriminatory intent” behind state Republicans’ attempt to force voters to present specific forms of identification at the polls.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs wrote in her ruling that the law, S.B. 824, was the latest example of North Carolina’s “sordid history of racial discrimination and voter suppression stretching back to the time of slavery, through the era of Jim Crow, and, crucially, continuing up to the present day.” Continue reading

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After Admitting “It’s Always Been Republicans Suppressing Votes,” Trump Advisor Says Party Will Get Even More Aggressive in 2020

“It’s clear there’s no law Donald Trump and his right-wing machine won’t bend, break, or ignore to try to win the presidency.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-21-2019

Justin Clark. Photo: Political Dig

Reporting on Friday shows a top advisor for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign caught on tape in November bragging  of the Republican Party’s history of voter suppression—and promising to go on the offensive in 2020.

The revelation came from the Associated Press in a report Friday on comments by Trump re-election advisor Justin Clark at an event in Madison, Wisconsin. Continue reading

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With Support of Just One Republican, House Passes ‘Historic’ Bill to Restore and Expand Voting Rights

“Brings us one step closer to restoring the Voting Rights Act.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-6-2019

The introduction of H.R. 4 on February 26, 2019. Photo: PFAW

Just one Republican—Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania—joined a united House Democratic caucus on Friday to pass what rights groups hailed as “historic” legislation to restore and expand voter protections that were gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs for Public Citizen, said passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) is a “critical step” in combating Republican voter suppression efforts that have proliferated in the six years since the Supreme Court’s infamous decision in Shelby County v. Holder. Continue reading

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As Bevin Refuses to Concede, Critics Warn Kentucky GOP ‘Totally Gearing Up to Steal’ Gubernatorial Election

“Pay attention. They’re going to try to steal the Kentucky election right out in the open, in front of everyone.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-6-2019

President Donald Trump and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin greet supporters as they arrive at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Aug. 21, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

Kentucky’s Senate President Robert Stivers suggested Tuesday night that the close race between Gov. Matt Bevin and Democratic challenger Andy Beshear could ultimately be decided by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature, sparking warnings that the GOP could attempt to “steal” the election.

“There’s less than one-half of 1 percent, as I understand, separating the governor and [Beshear],” Stivers, a Republican, told reporters after Beshear declared victory. “We will follow the letter of the law and what various processes determine. Continue reading

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Fears of ‘Collateral Damage to Democracy’ as Trump Weighs Withdrawing From Global Postal Pact

Election officials fear thousands of votes could go uncounted if the president leaves the Universal Postal Union

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-16-2019

Universal Postal Union headquarters in Berne, Switzerland. Photo: UPU

Thousands of absentee ballots could be uncounted in upcoming elections thanks to President Donald Trump’s objection to a treaty which governs the international mail exchange for nearly 200 countries.

Citing disapproval of shipping rates it says unfairly favor China, the White House is weighing a potential withdrawal next month from the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a United Nations agency which allows for global postal service. Continue reading

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‘I Can’t Overstate What a Farce This Is’: Trump DOJ Says It Is Still Reviewing ‘All Available Options’ to Revive Census Citizenship Question

The court filing came after Trump said he was considering an executive order and suggested—despite his own DOJ attorneys claiming otherwise—that the aim of the question is to redraw congressional districts

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-5-2019

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in last week claiming the administration’s rationale for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census seemed “contrived.” (Photo: @CensusCounts/Twitter)

In what one expert described as “an absurd filing,” the Trump administration told a federal judge on Friday that the Justice and Commerce departments “have been asked to reevaluate all available options” for including a citizenship question on the 2020 census, an effort which was effectively blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court last week.

The Supreme Court temporarily prevented the inclusion of the question on the grounds that the alleged rationale for doing so appeared “contrived,” a ruling which was cautiously welcomed by civil liberties and immigrant rights groups who accused the administration of attempting to rig the next national survey to create an electoral advantage for “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.” Continue reading

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After Supreme Court decision, gerrymandering fix is up to voters

The Supreme Court is empty days before the justices vote to on the U.S. gerrymandering case. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

 

John Rennie Short, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court has ruled that partisan gerrymandering is not unconstitutional.

The majority ruled that gerrymandering is outside the scope and power of the federal courts to adjudicate. The issue is a political one, according to the court, not a legal one.

“Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority decision. “But the fact that such gerrymandering is incompatible with democratic principles does not mean that the solution lies with the federal judiciary.” Continue reading

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