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Working to Protect the Vote in 2014 and Beyond

Working to Protect the Vote in 2014 and Beyond

By Tim OBrien, Voter Protection Project Manager, League of Women Voters

Last week, I blogged about how 2013 has been one of the most “active” years related to voting rights this country has ever seen. While there were many setbacks in the past 12 months, there were some victories as well. In 2014, we hope to build upon these victories and focus on proactive election reforms, while also continuing to battle back against attacks on voters’ rights at the local, state and national levels. With the continued leadership of the League, these victories will continue in 2014 and beyond.

Fighting to Restore the VRA and Fully Implement the NVRA:

The League is taking a multi-pronged approach to combat the harmful effects of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the law that prevented widespread discrimination in voting for nearly 50 years. The Court’s bad decision will allow more changes to election laws and practices at the state and local levels to occur with little or no scrutiny and with little recourse until after an election when the harm to voters has been done. The League is working to set up a system to monitor and respond to these changes.

Additionally, the League is pushing for urgently needed reforms to our outdated election system in order to address low voter turnout and the underrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities and low income individuals at the polls. The League is organizing our grassroots network, educating the public and working in coalition with other voting rights groups to develop and implement a plan to renew and restore the VRA in a bipartisan fashion in 2014.

In the wake of the positive Supreme Court decision upholding the integrity of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), League advocates will continue to urge state leaders to fully comply with the federal requirements set forth in this landmark law. Commonly known as “Motor Voter,” the NVRA streamlined the confusing array of state laws that hindered the voter registration process. The law made it easier for Americans to register to vote by requiring states to provide voter registration opportunities when citizens obtain a driver’s license or seek services at other government agencies, as well as through mail-in registration. Leagues are working to inform public assistance agencies of their obligation to provide voter registration opportunities to individuals; guiding agencies and elections officials so that their registration work is as effective as possible; and taking legal action when necessary.

Continue the Fight for Pro-Voter Reforms and Against Voter Suppression:

The League will build upon its pro-voter reform successes in 2013, as well as continue our efforts to defeat voter suppression proposals, to protect and expand voting rights in communities across the country.

In 2014, we can expect continued battles against voting restrictions in Alaska, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin. In addition to these threats, we know we will see voter photo ID laws implemented in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota and Virginia, and there is no doubt that other states will be added to this mix in 2014 as the political landscapes change before and after the mid-term elections.

While the League will be busy protecting the right to vote, we’re also committed to reforming our elections in order to better serve voters. The League has identified five proactive elections administration reform priorities that the League will work to implement:

1. Permanent and Portable Statewide Voter Registration
2. Improved Polling Place Management
3. Expanded Early Voting
4. Secure Online Voter Registration
5. Electronic Streamlining of Election Practices

We are hopeful that we will see some positive reforms in 2014. Specifically, we think we might see advances in secure online voter registration in Florida, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania; automatic voter registration in Oregon; electronic streamlining in Minnesota; and the expansion of early voting in New Jersey.

With the right combination of determination, reputation and organization, state League advocates have been and will continue to be remarkably successful in advocating against voter suppression and discrimination at the state level. We are excited by the promise of 2014 and believe that continuing to fight the ground game at the state level will be an essential and highly effective approach to protecting the right to vote and increasing the franchise to ensure that elections are free, fair and accessible for every eligible voter.

This piece was originally published on the League of Women Voters blog.

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44 comments

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5:30AM PST on Dec 30, 2013

ty

5:58PM PST on Dec 25, 2013

good work

11:56AM PST on Dec 25, 2013

Not sure why so many people in my generation, as opinionated as we all seem to be, never see to show up at the polls.

9:27AM PST on Dec 25, 2013

Keep up the great work LWV!!!!!!

6:13AM PST on Dec 25, 2013

Thanks

7:24PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

the right wing will fight tooth and nail to disenfranchise African Americans and other communities of color. Pray, so that the left will re-energize before it's too late.

5:56PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

People suffered and died for the right to vote. We must protect the right to vote. This is too important to ignore. There is a concerted effort on the part of the GOP/TP to prevent people from voting because if "certain" people are prevented from voting it is easier for the GOP/TP to win elections.

When the GOP/TP cannot win fairly, then the GOP/TP must win by all means foul.

3:22PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

flag Barbara F, 1:40PM PST on Dec 23, 2013, spam.


Jacob R
“Voting is more important even than getting a job or opening a bank account - yet I have to produce photo ID, social security number, have my credit score checked and maybe even have a drug test.....

Why should strict requirements not apply to voting as well?”

because voting is a guaranteed right protected by our Constitution. whereas; shopping, opening a bank account etc. are not.

Jacob R
“ Despite the above - how did your "democracy" work out huh? 51% of the population forcing their will on the other 49%.....”

that's how democracy works... hello. Majority rules.

Jacob R
“Which is why the founding fathers established a "Republic" and the Democrats have done their utmost to destroy it!”

no, our founding fathers established a 'Union' as is stated in the first sentence of our constitution.
[[[We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.]]]

2:47PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

I forgot to say that the Repugs were successful once with that little worm, Bush, and it could happen again--and again and again.

2:44PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

We just MUST protect the vote for the next election. I am afraid the Repugs may come up with some clandestine, clever method to get themselves in whether they're voted for or not, and this could be a disaster for this country and for us. I can only hope that more people are beginning to see through them and what they're up to. It bodes badly for America. We will lose alll our rights, let alone Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. They even want to slash food stamps, if they haven't already. They've cut funding for so many worthy projects. They don't want the rich to pay taxes--and that's reprehensible. WE are to pay taxes for the rich. In other words the Repugs are out to grind us down to dust, and we have to be three steps ahead of them at all times or suffer the consequences...

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