Supreme Court allows Wisconsin to throw away absentee ballots in gift to Republicans.

This is voter suppression.  WI has made a number of last-minute changes in response to the coronavirus, such as drastically reducing polling places.  Now, the Supreme Court told the state that it can’t make the changes that allow tens of thousands of its eligible persons to cast a ballot.  Read about it here.   #VoterSuppression

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.

Is Standardized Testing Good or Bad? Civil Rights Activists can’t seem to agree.

Standardized testing in schools has been a longstanding and much debated practice in education. Some argue that standardized testing is a way to bring attention to the achievement gap in schools and consequently bring about solutions. Others argue that standardized testing causes school systems to “teach the test,” which results in a decreased focus on the arts and creative thinking in schools. Read more about it here, and tell us what you think.

Voting Rights Legacy of the ’60s Heads to Court as North Carolina Law Is Tested – NYTIMES

Days after South Carolina confronted its past and lowered the Confederate battle flag, North Carolina will grapple with its present-day rules that determine access to the voting booth.

A federal trial opening in Winston-Salem on Monday is meant to determine whether recent, sweeping changes in the state’s election laws discriminate against black voters. These changes were adopted by the Republican-dominated state legislature in 2013, immediately after the United States Supreme Court struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 when it ended a requirement that nine states with histories of discrimination, including North Carolina, get federal approval before altering their election laws.

READ MORE HERE: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/us/a-voting-rights-legacy-of-the-1960s-heads-to-court-in-north-carolina.html?_r=0

Watch: Civil rights leader John Lewis implores the US government to ban the Confederate flag on federal grounds

US congressman John Lewis, famed civil rights activist, rose to the floor of the House of Representatives to call on his colleagues to ban the flying of the Confederate flag on federal grounds.

 Watch Here: http://qz.com/450828/watch-civil-rights-leader-john-lewis-implores-the-us-government-to-ban-the-confederate-flag-on-federal-grounds/

Jefferson Davis Descendant Delivers Powerful Speech for Removal of the Confederate Flag

A descendant of Confederate President Jefferson Davis made a tearful plea for the removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state capitol.  Rep. Jenny Horne asked South Carolina lawmakers to do something “meaningful.”  After more than 13 hours of debate, the body voted to take the flag down and place it with other Civil War relics.     Read and watch here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/07/09/south-carolina-rep-jenny-horne-on-her-historic-and-surprisingly-personal-speech-it-needed-to-be-done/    Let’s hope and watch for other meaningful legislative actions that make the lives of South Carolinans safer and better.

NC Voting Rights Challenge

The challenge to North Carolina’s restrictive voting rights law is set to begin next week.  Many believe that the decision could have vast implications for other states.  However, what is most likely to happen after the trial  is an appeal and we could be a year or more away from an impactful decision.  Read more here:  http://www.thecharlottepost.com/news/2015/07/09/local/naacp-nc-square-off-on-voting-rights-with-national-implications/ Continue reading

Today, the House is set to vote on $3 trillion aid package and historic rules changing remote voting.

This resolution being voted on today is considering additional aid to the american public as well as new options for remote voting. This bill would allow individuals to utilize technology to one day cast their votes from home.  For example, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, suggested members could  utilize technology similar to FaceTime to call to cast their votes. Read more about this historic legislation here.00Y7NpBeWxP0wCIPjvCl8wg-1.fit_scale.size_2698x1517.v1569491169

Today in History: The Civil Rights Act of 1960 was signed.

On May 6, 1960 the Civil Rights Act of 1960 was signed into law. The Act  was intended to strengthen voting rights across the country. It specifically included provisions calling for the  federal  government to inspect local voter registration rolls and authorized court-appointed referees to help African Americans register and vote. This act also provided criminal penalties for any and all parties attempting to prevent people from voting. See the the original Act virtually here.