Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Universal Suffrage

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Federal judge says Texas “voter ID” law intentionally discriminates

Via The New York Times, a not unexpected but welcome development: “A federal judge ruled on Monday that the voter identification law the Texas Legislature passed in 2011 was enacted with the intent to discriminate against black and Hispanic voters, raising the possibility that the state’s election procedures could be put back under federal oversight.”

Quotation

It made me physically ill… It was like a gut punch. I never thought, after all the years of dedicating my life to helping advance the Republican Party, that I would sit in a meeting of Republican officials and hear them openly plotting to impede another citizen’s voting rights.

— Wisconsin Republican Todd Allbaugh (via The Nation: The Republican Party’s war on voting Is working)

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Democratic Party, Clinton and Sanders campaigns to sue Arizona over voting rights

“The Democratic Party and the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will sue the state of Arizona over voter access to the polls after the state’s presidential primary last month left thousands of residents waiting as long as five hours to vote,” The Washington Post reports.

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Conservative lose key Supreme Court voting rights case

Another right wing political power grab has ended in failure after the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed that states may draw legislative districts based on total population, not merely the population on the voter rolls. The opinion in the case, Evenwel v. Abbot, was authored by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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John Oliver tackles voting in the United States on “Last Week Tonight”

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Ten ways to make Seattle (and Washington) politics more inclusive in 2016

Laura Bernstein of The Seattle Globalist recaps the highlights of Young, Gifted and Brown, a panel created to provide analysis of the 2015 Seattle elections. Bernstein reports the panel “brought together some of the best and brightest in local politics Tuesday night for a discussion on how to move forward to 2016 and keep elevating the diverse voices that are far too often left out of political conversations in Washington State.”

Aside

Victory! California joins Oregon in adopting automatic voter registration

Following in Oregon’s footsteps, California Governor Jerry Brown and Golden State lawmakers have taken the concept of “motor voter” to the next level:

In a bid to improve voter turnout in California elections, Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed legislation to automatically register to vote anyone who has a driver’s license or state identification card.

The measure was pushed by Democrats, whose candidates and causes typically benefit from higher turnout elections.

Assembly Bill 1461, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, will require the state to register adults to vote when they get or renew a driver’s license, unless they opt out. It will make California only the second state, after Oregon, to proactively register people to vote unless they decline.

Brown also signed several other bills to expand voter rights.

This is a hugely positive development for California and for the nation. Automatic voter registration has the potential to eliminate an annoying barrier to voting for millions of people. It makes no sense to require people to opt-in to the rolls in order to vote. If fuller participation in elections is our goal (and it ought to be), then it makes sense to change over to opt-out as our default.

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NYT has mostly ignored its own public editor’s call to stress lack of voter fraud in stories about voter ID schemes

Media Matters holds The New York Times’ newsroom accountable for not challenging fake right wing justifications for unnecessary voter ID laws meant to disenfranchise Democratic voters.

Quotation

I call on Republicans at all levels of government, with all manner of ambition to stop fear-mongering about a phantom epidemic of election fraud and start explaining why they are so scared of letting citizens have their say.

— Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, holding Republicans accountable for their attacks on voting rights (via The Hill)

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Hillary Clinton speaks on voting rights

Hillary Clinton speaks on voting rights

Today, 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton delivered a major speech on voting rights, calling for universal, automatic voter registration. Clinton spoke at Texas Southern University, a historically black college in Houston, and called out Republicans Rick Perry, Scott Walker, and Chris Christie by name for backing laws in their states to make it harder to vote.

POSTSCRIPT: The New York Times applauds the speech.

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Oregon Democrats plan to put their bigger legislative majorities to good use

Last year, the Oregon Democratic Party did something remarkable. In an election year that was rough for Democrats around the country, Oregon Democrats actually managed to pick up seats in the Legislature to increase their majorities. And now, with the Oregon state legislative session beginning, caucus leaders say they’re going to govern courageously and with purpose.

Quotation

There’s this false perception that nobody cares — nobody cares about democracy, nobody cares about engaging in it. But I think that that’s not true. And I’ve seen it not to be true.

— Northwest School senior Maya Garfinkel, featured in KPLU’s story Young voters explain how to get their peers to cast ballots in midterm elections.

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Unanimous Arkansas Supreme Court rules voter ID unconstitutional

Progressives in Arkansas scored a big victory yesterday when the Supreme Court of Arkansas unanimously struck down a Republican voter suppression scheme for violating the state’s constitution. The decision means that the people of Arkansas won’t be prevented from voting for lack of photo identification.

Quotation

Elected officials shouldn’t get to choose who gets to choose elected officials. Look: People marched and fought and died for the right to vote. And they want to legislate away that sacrifice to stay in power? Not on my watch, baby!

— Comedian Lewis Black, raging against Republican schemes to suppress the vote in a video for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Quotation

You participate and vote, and you can have some control over what happens to your child and your country.

— Representative John Lewis, urging black Americans to go to the polls and participate in the midterms (At risk in Senate, Democrats seek to rally blacks).

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Republicans going all out to limit voting in swing states

The New York Times documents the Republican Party’s effort to make it more difficult for Democratic voters to get to the polls and vote in state after state, from Ohio to North Carolina.