4/7 Three Ways to Fight Voter Suppression

Dear All,

Last night, Ambassador Norm Eisen, the Voter Protection Program’s board chair, and Joanna Lydgate, VPP’s CEO, responded to Georgia’s new law that will challenge the ability of many voters in that state to cast their ballot in a piece for CNN. They suggest “three shots” to address “this sickness in our body politic.”
 
Specifically, they call for filing necessary litigation against legislation like what became law in Georgia; passing the For the People Act (H.R. 1/S. 1), “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to establish nationwide rules for federal elections, using some of the best practices in the states and blocking some of the worst”; and urging state and local leaders to use their great power to advance democratic reforms.
 
They also highlight the “first in-depth look at how this legislation would affect the states,” VPP’s new report, which focuses on the impact S.1 would have in places like Georgia.

Here is today’s update:

National Update

CNN: “Ten more members of Congress join NAACP lawsuit against Trump and Giuliani for conspiring to incite US Capitol riot.” By Jessica Schneider. (April 7, 2021)
“Ten members of Congress who were in the House gallery as rioters breached the Capitol on January 6 are adding their names to the lawsuit first filed in February against former President Donald Trump and his former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. The lawsuit, first brought by House Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson and the NAACP, accuses Trump and Giuliani of conspiring with extremist groups the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers to incite the riot at the Capitol.”
 
PolitiFact: “What’s in Georgia’s new voting law that lost it the All-Star Game.” By Amy Sherman. (April 7, 2021)
“Georgia’s new voting law has ignited a fight over whether the law expands or shrinks access to the ballot. Republican lawmakers changed voting rules after Democrats won 2020 and 2021 statewide races thanks to strong turnout among Black voters. . . . We reviewed the substance of the law and spoke with experts about its impact. The long and complicated piece of legislation has both the potential to expand voting as well as restrict it.”
 
AP: “Groups: Census privacy tool could hurt voting rights goals.” By Mike Schneider. (April 5, 2021)
“A new method being used for the first time by the U.S. Census Bureau to protect people’s privacy in 2020 census data could hamper voting rights enforcement and make it harder for congressional and legislative districts to have equal populations, according to a report from two leading civil rights groups.”
 
LA Times: “Dianne Feinstein signals she’s open to abandoning Senate filibuster for voting rights.” By Jennifer Haberkorn. (April 6, 2021)
“A senior staffer to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) signaled Tuesday that the senator would support circumventing the long-standing filibuster rule to enact a voting rights bill with only 50 votes in the Senate. . . . The idea of eliminating the filibuster or making it harder to do has gained momentum among Senate Democrats concerned Republicans would use the tool to block all of President Biden’s agenda.”
 
Fortune: Mitch McConnell wants corporate America to stay out of politics—unless it involves donations.” By Nicole Goodkind. (April 6, 2021)
“Republicans are unhappy with the amount of political influence corporations have in U.S. politics and are weighing tax hikes as punishment. Yes, this is the same GOP that supported the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, the landmark 2010 case that allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts to support or oppose political candidates. And yes, this is the same GOP that voted in favor of lowering the corporate tax rate in 2017 from 35% to 21% and who have been aggressively fighting a proposed increase in the rate to 28%.”
 
Footwear News: “After Donating $1 Million to Georgia Voting Rights Groups, Patagonia Calls on More CEOs to Step Up.” By Katie Abel. (April 7, 2021)
“After donating $1 million to voting rights groups in Georgia, Patagonia is calling on more business leaders across the country to step up for the cause. The effort comes as major players from Coca Cola to Major League Baseball to Delta take a stand against the restrictive laws in the latest wave of corporate activism. Many key GOP leaders, including former President Donald Trumpand Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, continue to rally behind the measures and have warned companies to stay on the sidelines. But Patagonia is undeterred—and the company made one of the strongest statements about the issue so far.”
 
FiveThirtyEight: “Why We Are (And Should Be) Talking About Voting Rights Right Now.” A discussion between FiveThirtyEight’s Sarah Frostenson, Alex Samuels, and Nathaniel Rakich, as well as Julia Azari, an associate professor of political science at Marquette University. (April 7, 2021)
“Georgia’s new voting law has captured headlines for all the ways in which it makes voting harder. . . . But understanding the effects of laws like Georgia’s is complicated. There’s not really solid evidence one way or the other that this law will hurt Democrats or help Republicans. It’s also a point that elides a more fundamental one: If one party increasingly supports anti-democratic measures, does anything else outweigh that?”
 
CBS News: “Ex-national security officials call for commission to investigate Capitol attack.” By Nicole Sganga. (April 7, 2021)
“Precisely three months after the January 6 assault on the Capitol, dozens of former senior national security, military and elected officials from both sides of the aisle urged lawmakers in Congress to establish an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the attack.”

State Updates

Arizona
 
Arizona Daily Star: “Voting rights groups: Tactics in Arizona election audit are illegal, intimidating.” By Howard Fischer. (April 6, 2021)
“In a letter Tuesday to Doug Logan, the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, the lawyers said the plans—which include knocking on doors and contacting people—‘constitute voter intimidation.’”
 
The Guardian: “The next Georgia: Texas and Arizona emerge as voting rights battlegrounds.” By Sam Levine. (April 6, 2021)
“As Georgia Republicans face backlash over new sweeping voting restrictions, activists in other states are escalating efforts to oppose similar restrictions advancing in other states. Texas and Arizona have emerged as two of the next major battlegrounds over voting rights. Texas Republicans last week advanced legislation that would limit early voting hours, prohibit drive-thru voting and give partisan poll workers the ability to record voters at the polls, among other measures. In Arizona, Republicans are moving ahead with an audit of ballots from the presidential race while also advancing legislation that would make it harder to vote by mail.”
 
Georgia
 
Huffington Post: “Atlanta Mayor Signs Order Meant To Fight Georgia’s Voting Restrictions.” By Sanjana Karanth. (April 6, 2021)
“‘The voting restrictions of SB 202 will disproportionately impact Atlanta residents ― particularly in communities of color and other minority groups,’ Bottoms said in a statement. ‘This Administrative Order is designed to do what those in the majority of the state legislature did not―expand access to our right to vote.’”
 
Kentucky
 
New York Times: “Why Kentucky Just Became the Only Red State to Expand Voting Rights.”
By Nick Corasaniti. (April 7, 2021)
Jennifer Decker has solid conservative credentials. A first-term Republican state lawmaker in Kentucky who used to work for Senator Rand Paul, she represents a county that voted for Donald J. Trump last year by nearly 30 percentage points. Yet at a time when many of her Republican counterparts around the country are racing to pass stringent new restrictions on voting—fueled in part by Mr. Trump’s falsehoods about the 2020 election—Ms. Decker’s first major bill swerved. It aimed to make it easier for people to vote in the state.”
 
Maine
 
ABC/WMTW 8: “Bill would create permanent online voter registration system in Maine.” By Phil Hirschkorn. (April 6, 2021)
“Maine was the first state in the country to adopt same-day, in-person voter registration in 1973. Nearly 50 years later, Maine could become the 41st state to implement online voter registration. A bill being debated in Augusta would create an online registration system over the next two years, with a goal to launch in 2023.”
 
Michigan
 
Newsweek: “Democrats Fear Michigan Will Follow Georgia in Tightening Voting Restrictions.” By Jack Dutton. (April 6, 2021)
“Michigan Senate Republicans, led by Senator Mike Shirkey, on March 24 introduced 39 ‘election reform bills,’ which if passed, mean there are much stricter thresholds to being able to vote.”

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