Voting rights activist calls for federal Department of Democracy

Well now, here’s an idea.  Let’s make the main thing, the main thing.

LaTosha Brown, a Selma native who co-founded Black Voters Matter, issued a statement saying that it is time to reimagine American democracy.

Source: Voting rights activist calls for federal Department of Democracy

DMV Closures Hurting Voter Registration Numbers | KXNT 840 AM

A consequence of COVID-19 is widespread DMV closures and the inability to register to vote. You can read about Nevada’s experience here. DMVs and other voter registration options are sparse or non-existent in most states. Additionally, organizations that usually engage in voter registration activities are unable to do so in this state of emergency. #voterregistration #votingrights #COVID19

Queens Council Members Split Over Granting Non Citizens NYC Voting Rights | Jackson Heights Post

Considering expanding the vote to all residents of a locality regardless of citizenship status, read here.

Jan. 27, 2020 By Kristen Torres “The Queens delegation is split over a city bill that would grant green card holders and many other legal immigrants.”

Source: Queens Council Members Split Over Granting Non Citizens NYC Voting Rights | Jackson Heights Post

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

A federal judge in North Carolina blocked it’s voter ID law finding, among other things, troubling racial disparities. “The evidence suggests that minority voters are not just less likely to have an acceptable form of ID, but that the legislature excluded photographic ID that could have greatly reduced that discrepancy,” the judge wrote.

 

Watch Night 2020

January 1st is a significant day in civil rights history.  On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation which proclaimed that “all persons held as slaves … are, and henceforward shall be free.”  It is said that slaves in the confederate states watched all night on December 31, 1862, to see what freedom looked like on January 1st.  Accordingly, 157 years later, in the African American culture, we continue to attend watch night services on New Year’s Eve.  Maybe in 2020, we can truly see what freedom looks like.  #freedom #watchnight #vote

 

Misinformation impedes voting rights of Illinois’ formerly incarcerated | Chicago Reporter

Restoration of rights has become a focal point in recent years.  This article highlights the misinformation that takes place in Illinois and elsewhere across the country.   Illinois is among the few states where formerly incarcerated regain their voting rights after release, but many are misinformed and unaware.

Source: Misinformation impedes voting rights of Illinois’ formerly incarcerated | Chicago Reporter

DESCENDANTS OF THE MOVEMENT: EYEWITNESSES TO CIVIL RIGHTS HISTORY

John WoodsHistory often focuses on children of the movement—youngsters who were active participants in the fight for civil rights. But there were other young people who played a part in that history, as well—descendants of the movement, those who witnessed their parents or relatives fight to end segregation in the South.

And here is their stories……

 

http://www.birminghamtimes.com/2017/02/descendants-of-the-movement-eyewitnesses-to-civil-rights-history/

Civil rights champions honored at Heritage Awards

Mississippi Power paid tribute to four iconic individuals for their pioneering work in advancing the causes of human and civil rights at the 2017 Heritage Awards Saturday night.

This year’s honorees, Victoria Gray Adams, Lawrence Guyot Jr., Col. Lawrence Roberts and Lucimarian Tolliver Roberts all stood as symbols of hope and perseverance in the face of tough circumstances.

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http://mississippipowernews.com/2017/02/13/civil-rights-champions-honored-at-heritage-awards/

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law

This decision allows more than 600,000 citizens, who were shut out, the opportunity to cast a ballot in 2016.  #restoreVRA #voterid #Texas

A majority of the full U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the heavily litigated and controversial Texas voter ID law does have the effect of discriminating against minority voters, and ordered the state to devise a remedy to that problem before the November elections. “We conclude that the district court did not clearly err in determining that SB 14 has a discriminatory effect on minorities’ voting rights in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act,” the court majority wrote.The unexpected ruling against the Republican-backed voter ID law by the conservative appeals court came as it faced a Supreme-Court-imposed deadline of Wednesday to rule in the case.

Source: Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law

Prosecution’s Case in Freddie Gray’s Death Continues to Have an Uphill Battle

Here’s a good piece that addresses the frustration over the lack of convictions in the Freddie Gray case.  Even if  they don’t lead to prosecutions, hopefully, we can have real talk and real change. #policereform #civilrights #FreddieGray

On Monday, Police Lt. Brian Rice became the third officer acquitted in the death of Freddie Gray. Rice, 42, was the highest-ranking officer of six officers charged in Gray’s death. He was cha…

Source: Prosecution’s Case in Freddie Gray’s Death Continues to Have an Uphill Battle

US curtails federal election observers

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When I served at the DOJ, federal observers were an important part of maintaining order in some jurisdictions.  DOJ believes that the Shelby decision eliminates most election day coverage.  #RestoretheVRA

WASHINGTON – Federal election observers can only be sent to five states in this years US presidential election, among the smallest deployments since the Voting

Source: US curtails federal election observers

A Guide To The Big Photo ID, Early Voting And Other Voting Law Cases : NPR

Ahead of November, a number of important voting law cases are still up in the air nationwide. Here’s a breakdown of where some of the big cases stand.

Source: A Guide To The Big Photo ID, Early Voting And Other Voting Law Cases : NPR

VA Governor Defends Restoration Order

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe defended his decision to restore the voting rights to more than 200,000 persons.  Criticism from those who believe that the punishment should continue long after citizens have completed their sentences, including probation and parole, has been relentless.  In the first month of the governor’s order, approximately 6,000 persons registered to vote; compared with less than 2,000  the previous year.  You can read more here:

Connecting Dr. King’s “March on Ballot Boxes” Speech to Today’s Realities

Here’s an interesting article that connects past and present realities.  GRD

Fifty years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made his first public visit to South Carolina to deliver a speech on a school field in Kingstree about the importance of voting. About 5,000 came out on a rainy day to hear him.

Source: Post and Courier

Felon Disenfranchisement

In Maryland and Virginia, former felons have the ability to vote, with some restrictions. For example, in Virginia, they must complete probation or parole.  Nonetheless. 40,000 persons in Maryland and more than 200.000 persons in Virginia now have access to the ballot box.  These measures, however, may be met with litigation that could affect their ability to vote in the 2016 election. Read the New York Times article here.

DOJ says NC law violates civil rights laws

The Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory stating that House Bill 2, which among other things, requires persons to use the bathroom of their birth, violates two civil rights laws-Title VII (employment discrimination) and Title IX (sex discrimination).  Read more here.

Interestingly, HB2 was hastily passed, much like  NC’s restrictive voting law  passed in 2013 after Shelby v. Holder that removed same day registration, limited early voting, and instituted  a restrictive voter id requirement.

Mizzou Names New President

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After months of unrest, student protests, and a presidential resignation, The University of Missouri has appointed Michael Middleton as the interim president of the university. Middleton is no stranger to the university or the fight for Civil Rights. In 1968, Middleton became the third black student to graduate from the University’s law school. Shortly after graduation. Middleton started his legal career in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. His professional and personal experiences may be just what the University needs.

JFK’s civil rights leadership still lights a path for our fractured country

Interesting article on JFK’s influence and position on civil rights issues.  Here’s a quote from the article, “I think we might be a very different country if we had not had so many assassinations,” James Baldwin told an interviewer in 1970. He said, “you know black people had a very different feeling toward government when JFK and Bobby were alive than we’ve had since.” He noted a distinctive quality the brothers shared: “Both had minds that could be reached.”

Source: JFK’s civil rights leadership still lights a path for our fractured country

Desmond Meade, felons’ rights activist, wins restoration of his own civil rights – Florida Phoenix

Congratulations @desmondmeade  @FLRightsRestore It was a long time coming!

Desmond Meade, a main force behind Florida’s drive to restore civil rights to thousands of former felons, now has had his own rights restored. The announcement came Saturday during a Twitter broadcast during which family members presented Meade with a certificate from the Office of Executive Clemency announcing restoration of his civil rights, except to […]

Source: Desmond Meade, felons’ rights activist, wins restoration of his own civil rights – Florida Phoenix

As More Oppressive Voting Rules Emerge, Black Women Journalists Lead The Headlines

Keep your eyes on the prize, Oh Lord!!  #RighttoVote #Uncounted Journalists like April Ryan and Errin Haines are using their bylines to uplift faces and voices of voter suppression in the void of congressional action on the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Source: As More Oppressive Voting Rules Emerge, Black Women Journalists Lead The Headlines