It turns out FDR was wrong when he said “nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except themselves.” This year, 16 states will have new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election that disproportionately impact seniors, people of color, young people, and low-income individuals.
16 million registered voters in the US don’t have the current government-issued ID needed to vote. In Texas alone, more than 600,000 registered voters won’t be able to cast a ballot. In just a few years, we’ve cut more than 5% of the US population out of our democratic process, and the vast impact of these new voter suppression laws are probably why 69% of Americans are actually against voter ID laws.
We’re even making things difficult for those who actually can vote. Our antiquated election system causes long, discouraging wait times, and 43 states have voting machines more than a decade old - practically relics in the tech years.
To remedy our broken democracy, the Brennan Center for Justice outlines 8 detailed actions to fix our system, including overturning Citizens United, establishing small donor public financing, ending partisan gerrymandering and restoring the right to vote for those with past criminal convictions. We know you’re already working on those things, so here is today’s activism focus:
- Restore the Voting Rights Act by telling your legislators to pass the Rights Amendment Act and the Voting Rights Advancement Act, both currently in front of them, to stop voter suppression laws and redistricting.
- Tell your legislators that you demand a modern election system.
A modernized election system would include allowing automatic and secure voter registration for every eligible voter when they interact with state government agencies (with an option to decline), offering online voter registration, allowing people to register or update their information at the polls, replacing outdated voting machines, and expanding early voting. This isn’t earth shaking stuff. In fact, bills that will launch automatic voter registration just passed in West Virginia and Vermont, and Illinois and Maryland are considering voter reform proposals right now.
So, if making sure America is actually a democracy is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about how to Demand Modernized Elections and Restoring the Voting Rights Act via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Let’s fight like our right to vote depends on it, because sadly it does.
Contact your legislators to demand modernized elections and urge them to vote for the Rights Amendment Act and the Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore the Voting Rights Act.
Sign the Brennan Center for Justice’s change.org petition “Tell Congress it’s time to Automatically Register Every American to Vote.”
Follow @BrennanCenter on Twitter for the latest updates on public policy and issues of democracy and justice.
The Brennan Center for Justice Election 2016 (via the Brennan Center)
Restore the Voting Rights Act (via the Brennan Center)
Wanted: 21st Century Elections (via the Brennan Center)
Modernize Voter Registrations (via the Brennan Center)
Why is it so hard to vote in America? And what can we do to fix it? (via the Brennan Center)
Voting Laws Roundup 2016 (via the Brennan Center)
Hear the Segment in Context:
Episode #1009: "Battle for the Ballot" (Voting Rights)
Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.