Apr 3, 2014
It's ironic. Decisions by this Supreme Court have allowed states to make it more difficult for ordinary Americans to vote, while at the same time, the Court is sanctioning a new flood of dollars from the super-rich to candidates and campaigns. (See the story on this week's disastrous decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.)
Around the country, Republicans are looking to impose new restrictions on voting aimed at keeping African-Americans, students, workers and others from the polls.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) just signed a bill into law that will disenfranchise thousands of voters by eliminating absentee voting on weekends ahead of elections.
"The argument that this will create more uniform, fair voting hours is a complete sham," said CWA District 4 Vice President Linda Hinton. "This is about fixing elections. This is about deliberately silencing the voices of minorities, seniors, students, veterans and working families at the ballot box."
In February, the Ohio legislature and Gov. John Kasich (R) successfully cut one week of early voting and eliminated a period called the "Golden Week" at the beginning of early voting when people can both register to vote and cast an in-person absentee ballot. Republicans also changed the handling of absentee ballots, so more will likely be discarded because of technical errors.
CWAers are now collecting petition signatures to put the issue in front of voters on the November ballot, said Hinton.
North Carolina activists are fighting back against the nation's most restrictive voting laws, which were passed by the Republican legislature and signed by the GOP governor last summer. The North Carolina legislature enacted an extreme voter ID law that could prevent 318,000 now registered voters from exercising their right to vote, while cutting back early voting and allowing polling place "vigilantes" to challenge voters. Lawmakers also added provisions to make students' college-issued IDs an invalid form of identification, along with other drastic measures.
But voting rights advocates in North Carolina recently got some good news: A federal judge has ordered state lawmakers who backed the laws, which effectively target black and Latino voters, to turn over their emails to better shed light on why they passed the law.
Last June, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which required states with a history of voting rights discrimination to clear all voting law changes with the federal government. As a result, several states quickly got to work on new voter suppression laws.
Since the beginning of 2013, nine states have passed measures making it harder for ordinary Americans to vote. Check out this story from The New York Times that highlights how Republicans embarked on a national effort to roll back voting rights.