January 18, 2012
The 2012 Presidential race has begun and people all over the country are gearing up to cast their vote for president come November. While the 2008 election saw more people turn out to vote in over a decade, as many as 5 million voters will be restricted from voting in this upcoming election.
Its no surprise that those disenfranchised voters include African Americans, Latinos, elderly, students and others. Why? Its all part of a larger Republican strategy to restrict voting rights to people who have traditionally voted for democratic candidates. Almost five decades ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, outlawing discriminatory voting practices. The bills champion, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, fought tirelessly to expand voting rights to all Americans. As we celebrate his legacy this week we need to keep a keen eye on every attempt to keep Americans from the polls. Voter identification laws have been popping up throughout the United States since 2005 when Indiana passed its voter identification law. Last year alone we saw a dozen more states pass voter identification laws including South Carolina, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan, and Ohio. In the key battleground state of Ohio, House Bill 194 that is set for referendum in 2012 would disenfranchise as many as 900,000 voters. That alone could turn the tide for any Republican running for President and allow the GOP to gain Ohios 88 delegates along with a clear path of victory to claim the White House. As bills passed last year become law, voters across the country must stay diligent if Republicans are allowed to use voter identification laws to cover up their attempt to steal elections, more and more Americans will continue to lose their basic right to participate in the democratic process. The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that the 25 laws passed last year could potentially prevent as many as5 million votersfrom being able to cast a ballot for President let alone for any other issues or candidate. 5 million voters is a significant number of voters, especially if you consider in the 2008 presidential contest 131 million Americans cast a ballot for president. 5 million voters could very easily exceed the margin of victory for the 2012 presidential election. It should come as no surprise that any one of these states that passed these unreasonable voting ID laws could decide the outcome of the 2012 presidential race. Recently Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the Department of Justice must ensure equal access at the ballot box. In December, at the LBJ presidential library in Austin, Attorney General Holder said, The right to vote is not only the cornerstone of our system of government it is the lifeblood of our democracy. And no force has proved more powerful or more integral to the success of the great American experiment than efforts to expand the franchise." If Attorney General Holder is correct in his assertion that voting is the lifeblood of our democracy why arent more people demanding that the mainstream media pay attention to the Republican attempt to steal elections? Last year alone, we witnessed the Republican Party attack nearly every value that progressive voters hold dear. Nationally, their most important issue was making President Obama to be a one-term president," croaked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Republicans in Congress would rather our economy double-downed into another depression than to vote for any legislation that would paint President Obama in a positive light. Clearly, an economic recovery and advancing the general well being of all Americans is not a Republican priority voter fraud is. The laws passed last year amount to the largest effort to disenfranchise voters since the Jim Crow era. While Republicans may not be winning the voting public's support with their attack on jobs, families and our way of life, across the nation GOP supporters see a very small window of opportunity to pass voter id laws that restrict access for African Americans, Latinos, the Elderly and Students at the voting booth. By restricting these voters, a core demographic of the Democratic base, Republican-held state legislatures believe that they will hold and then gain significantly more power at the local and national level. Simply put the Republicans are cheating their way to victory. Imagine for years to come, Republicans winning every election and not ever having to worry about a concession speech. The 25 such laws passed last year have basically rigged the outcome in 14 states to make this future a possibly reality. Forget for a moment the political implication of such laws, since clearly the political impact is much more significant when you look at how these disenfranchised communities would be affected by such legislation in the long term. Republican candidates rarely support populations other than wealthy white men, so by disenfranchising African Americans, Latinos and others, Republicans essentially take away their voices but will also deny them the opportunity to pass legislation that affects their lives and livelihoods. The great civil rights leader and current congressman John Lewis has said of these archaic ways to disenfranchise minorities, There is a deliberate attempt to prevent millions of elderly voters, young voters, students, minority and low income voters from exercising their constitutional right to engage in the democratic process. Voter ID laws are becoming all too common. It remains perfectly clear that the Republican agenda is to win elections - no matter the cost.
Progressive legislators are not sitting by idly and democrats, independents and even Republicans who support voting rights can push their Representatives to support and pass two bills that will combat voter suppression and American Citizens right to vote. Next week,join the conversationwith Congressman Keith Ellison (MN 5) and Democracy for America as Rep. Eillison unveils two bills in the House that would protect voters and curb harmful voting laws across the country. The bills will ensure the protection of Americans most fundamental right - the right to vote.
Congressman Ellison has long been an very vocal advocate for expanding voting rights. Not only has he been a staunch believer in the right to vote for all citizens regardless of the party they vote for or the candidate they support, Rep. Ellison strong supporter for the Occupy movement and supports the 99 percent. Passing his voting rights legislation will be no simple task, especially with Rep. John Boehner controlling the house. But progressive voters must not give up hope. Our democracy hangs in the balance. Rep. Ellison said on the floor of the house when introducing these bills last year, This year 13 states are trying to pass laws restricting the right to vote for American citizens. These laws add up to the largest attack on voting rights since the Jim Crow era. In all, they could strip more than 5 millions Americans from the right to vote.. Rep Ellison doesnt just believe that the Republican party is on the wrong track restricting voting rights for citizens, he believes that if you truly believe in democracy you should do everything you can to increase the enfranchisement of American citizens not take it away. Clearly the Republican party which became the party of No in 2011 will continue its assault on the very principles that built our great nation unless we stand up together and put a stop to these horrendous voter identification laws and support Rep. Ellison's voting rights legislation. Click here to join us nextMonday, January 23 for a DFA Live Call with Congressman Ellison where youll have an opportunity to speak directly with him and ask questions regarding both bills that protect our democracy. These bills keep our democracy strong and honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and all civil rights leaders who fought tirelessly to bring the right to vote to every citizen.
January 17, 2012
A message from Gov. Howard Dean:
The Citizens United Supreme Court decision has changed the way we run elections in this country, allowing billionaires to secretly finance so-called "Super PACs" and empowering big corporations and Wall Street like never before. The attacks that we saw in 2010 were just the beginning. Any candidate who challenges Wall Street's status quo is going to come under an avalanche of hateful attack ads this year -- and no candidate is going to come under greater attack than Elizabeth Warren. Elizabeth is a progressive champion who has spent her career fighting for working families. That work is what's going to make her Wall Street's number one target this year. We need to have Elizabeth's back in this fight. We need progressive fighters like her in the Senate to overturn Citizens United and get this country working for all Americans again. Join me in supporting Elizabeth Warren -- Please contribute $12 right now. This week is the two-year anniversary of Scott Brown's special election. He's playing up the anniversary to officially announce his reelection campaign and he's probably going to raise huge sums of money from big contributors because of it. Elizabeth's campaign isn't fueled by big money -- it's fueled by tens of thousands of small contributions from everyday Americans across the country. A grassroots campaign like that is the only thing that can beat big corporate money, so please join me in supporting Elizabeth today. Beating Elizabeth Warren is Wall Street's top priority. Contribute $12 now to help put Elizabeth over the top. Thank you, Russell, for everything you do. -Howard Gov. Howard Dean, M.D. Founder, Democracy for America
January 17, 2012
The Internet is where democracy happens. The last thing we need is corporate censorship of free speech. Arshad Hasan, Executive Director of Democracy for America Burlington, VT Statement from Arshad Hasan, Executive Director of Democracy for America (DFA) on DFAs participation in the web site blackout on Wed. Jan. 18th to stop SOPA & PIPA, or corporate censorship of the Internet: Democracy for America recently divested our 48 domains from GoDaddy in protest of their support of SOPA and PIPA which will amount to unlimited corporate censorship of the Internet. The Internet is where democracy happens. In a post Citizens United world where corporations already can spend unlimited amounts of money in politics, the last thing we need is corporate censorship of free speech. Democracy for America was founded from Howard Deans campaign for President, a campaign that was born on the Internet where innovations in online organizing paved the way to more participation in our political system than ever before. Our organization of deeply engaged members and volunteers would not exist without a free and open internet. The idea that corporations would have the power to police or censor the Internet puts Democratic movements like ours at risk everywhere. # # # ABOUT DEMOCRACY FOR AMERICA Democracy for America is a people-powered Democratic Political Action Committee. With over one million members nationwide, DFA is a grassroots powerhouse working to change our country and the Democratic Party from the bottom-up. www.DemocracyForAmerica.com Paid for by Democracy for America, www.democracyforamerica.com, and not authorized by any candidate.
January 16, 2012
A message from Levana Layendecker:
Today we celebrate a great leader who fought hard to make sure that all Americans, regardless of the color of their skin, could fully participate in our Democracy. The most fundamental right Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for was the right to vote.
And today, those rights are under attack.
This year, 34 Republican state legislatures introduced bills designed to turn voters away from the polls who cannot produce specific types of state issued ID. If all of these bills pass, roughly 21 million voters will lose their right to vote. And, it's no coincidence that most of those voters are minorities, students, and elderly voters who vote Democrat.
That's why, today, we are supporting Rep. Keith Ellison's two bills to protect the right to vote.
Sign on as a citizen co-sponsor today to protect the right to vote by making sure election boards cannot require state ID and allowing voters to register the same day they go to the polls.
Rep. Keith Ellison, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, explains how these bills affect voters in a recent post on Daily Kos:
In Indiana, 12 nuns were denied the right to vote in the last presidential election because they didn't have "updated" identification. The facts that some of them had old passports, they were in their 80s and 90s and didn't drive--or that they're nuns--seemed not to be a good basis for affirming their identities.
These are not isolated incidents. They are part of the largest effort to disenfranchise voters since the Jim Crow era, almost exclusively targeting youth and minority voters.
To stop this attack on voting rights, Rep. Ellison introduced two bills to curb voter suppression. The Same Day Registration Act would require states to provide for same day voter registration for a federal election. The Voter Access Protection Act would make sure election officials cannot require photo identification in order to cast a vote or register to vote.
Add your voice and become a citizen co-sponsor of these two bills today.
Don't allow this year to be the first in our history that we shrink the size of the voting public, instead of expanding it. Make this Martin Luther King Day count, and sign on to protect voting rights.
Thank you for all that you do,
Levana Layendecker, Communications Director Democracy for America
January 13, 2012
Levana Layendecker, Communications Director Pick of the Week:
I never thought that after the tireless work by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that the day would come when the right to vote is in danger - again. Why and How You Should Fight Voter ID Laws By Martin Longman
These polling place Photo ID restriction laws have proliferated like crazy since the 2010 midterm elections. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University has many reports on the impact of changes in election law. According to onerecent report(pdf), new polling place Photo ID restriction laws will disenfranchise 3.2 million qualified voters. Even more restrictive "proof of citizenship" laws (for which a driver's license is insufficient) will disenfranchise another quarter of a million citizenswho can't provide the necessary proof(do you know where your Birth Certificate is?).
Connor Stewart, Development Associate Pick of the Week:
While the GOP was out crying foul over President Obamas recess appointments its interesting that we live in a age where his legal council has to defend his actions that previous presidents have taken.
Justice Dept. Defends Obama Recess Appointments By Charlie Savage
"Much of the criticism of Mr. Obamas move has been based on the theory that the Senate has been meeting even if only one lawmaker is briefly in the chamber every three days. If so, then it has broken up its long winter vacation into a sequence of short recesses."
Julielyn Gibbons, Training Director Pick of the Week:
This piece is a fascinating dissection at the crossroads of three of my favorite subjects: the societal role of technology, local and international politics, the growing global protest movement. This article is so thorough that even after reading the whole thing, you find yourself only hungrier for more
#Riot: Self-Organized, Hyper-Networked Revolts - Coming to a City Near You By Bill Wasik
The year 2011 brought waves of crowd unrest on a worldwide scale unseen for more than three decades. From Januarys revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia through a summer of sit-ins and demonstrations in Europe, India, and Israel to the Occupy Wall Street movement in the fall, the past year saw a new generation of activists rediscoverand subtly reinvent, through social mediathe massive street action as a means of political expression.
Jase Roberts, Technology Director Pick of the Week: This was a top post on Reddit this week and thats a big deal.Reddit blacking itself out on January 18th in protest of SOPA sends an incredibly important message to the powers that be. Stopped they must be, on this all depends By the admins at Reddit
Were as addicted to reddit as the rest of you. Many of you stand with us against PIPA/SOPA, but we know support for a blackout isnt unanimous. We're not taking this action lightly. We wouldnt do this if we didnt believe this legislation and the forces behind it were a serious threat to reddit and the Internet as we know it. Blacking out reddit is a hard choice, but we feel focusing on a day of action is the best way we can amplify the voice of the community.
Kaili Lamb, Political Campaign Manager Pick of the Week: With Ron Paul finishing in Second in New Hampshire it is important we take a second look at his freedom record.While 65 percent of New Hampshire voters support the freedom to marry, Ron Paul does not. Progressive voters in primary states take note.
Ron Paul vs. Freedom (To Marry) By Dean Barker
"I will stand with the people of Iowa, against Unconstitutional federal power grabs, and will fight to protect each states right not to be forced to recognize a same sex marriage against the will of its people. If I were a member of the Iowa legislature, I would do all I could to oppose any attempt by rogue judges to impose a new definition of marriage on the people of my state." Amanda McKay, Executive Assistant to Governor Dean Pick of the Week: While Huntsman had a decent finish in New Hampshire, its sad that hes being beat by a candidate who isnt even on the ballot in South Carolina.Plus, hes comedian Stephen Colbert.
Stephen Colbert Leads Jon Huntsman in South Carolina Poll Posted on the Huffington Post
"The new poll, released on Tuesday, shows five percent of primary voters in the Palmetto State picking Colbert, while four percent choose Huntsman...Even if Huntsman finishes second in New Hampshire tonight it doesn't speak well for his prospects down the line that he's running behind Stephen Colbert," Tom Jensen of PPP wrote on the polling organization's blog."
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