The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Every Voter Counts

The ability to vote – to have a part in choosing the elected officials whose decisions impact our lives, families, communities, and country – is at the core of our democracy and what it means to be an American. Every American should have a voice in issues that affect them. Every voter counts. But under the guise of preventing so-called “voter fraud” and working in conjunction with advocacy groups, some governors and state legislators have passed laws making it harder for millions of Americans – especially students, seniors, and people of color – to register and to vote.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund, working with allies at the local, state, and national levels, is implementing a campaign to elevate and sustain a focus on voter protection and turnout; to strengthen the ability of individuals and organizations to overcome barriers to the right to vote; and to increase voter turnout among underrepresented populations that are the targets of voter suppression efforts.

FACT SHEET: A Campaign to Protect Access to the Polls and Encourage Voter Participation in 2012 (PDF)

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Fifth Grader Calls for D.C. Voting Rights

March 17, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

In February, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made a surprise visit to the Capital City Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.  During the visit, a fifth grader named Karen asked President Obama why Washington, D.C., doesn't have voting representation in Congress.

In this video, Karen talks about her conversation with the president and explains why the issue of D.C. voting rights matters to her.

A bill that will give Washington, D.C., a full-voting member in the House of Representatives for the first time passed the Senate in February and is expected to come up for a vote in the House in the coming weeks.

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The Washington Post Calls on Congress to Reform Voter Registration

March 16, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

The Washington Post said today that Congress has to figure out a way to make voting easy for every American.  The Post cited a recent study that found nearly 4 million eligible voters were unable to cast a vote in the 2008 election due to problems with their registrations, and that almost 5 million additional people did not register because of administrative problems during the registration process.

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Supreme Court Limits Key Provision of the Voting Rights Act

March 12, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday to limit the scope of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), saying that a key provision that keeps minority votes from being diluted during redistricting doesn't apply in districts where a minority group makes up less than 50 percent of the voting age population. 

Section 2 of the VRA says that minority voters must have an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. In areas with a significant minority population, this prohibits governments from dispersing minority voters into multiple districts, so that there aren't enough minority voters in any given district to influence the outcome of that district's election.


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Senate Introduces Bill to Outlaw Vote Caging

March 9, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

The Senate recently introduced legislation aimed at ending "vote caging," a tactic typically used to deter minorities, young people, and seniors from voting.

"Vote caging" is a tactic in which a political organization or party sends mail, usually marked "do not forward," to registered voters, some of which are returned to sender. The organization will then challenge the validity of these voters' registrations, either before or on election day. 

However, many of these individuals are not fraudulent voters.  A person might be in the armed forces serving abroad, or letters may simply be returned due to misspelling of names or addresses.

The Caging Prohibition Act will prohibit the use of "caging lists" to interfere with voting or registering to vote.  Another provision in the bill will also prohibit using foreclosure status to challenge voters' registration.

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Senate Passes D.C. Voting Rights Bill

February 26, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Today, the Senate passed the DC House Voting Rights Act, which will give the District of Columbia a full-voting member in the House of Representatives for the first time.

The DC House Voting Rights Act will increase the permanent House membership from 435 to 437 by giving one seat to the District of Columbia, and adding a fourth seat for Utah. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton currently represents the district in the House, participating in debate and committees, but her delegate status does not allow her to vote on final passage of legislation.

The House is expected to vote on the bill next week.

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Senate to Vote on DC Voting Rights Act

February 23, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Every week, 6,600 foreclosure proceedings start. That's one every 13 seconds.

The Center for Responsible Lending's website now has a constantly-updated counter showing the number of new foreclosures this year in the United States, as well as totals for each state. The counter is a graphic reminder of how severe the mortgage crisis is. The foreclosure data is based on Mortgage Banker Association figures.

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The New York Times Urges Congress to Pass DC Voting Rights Bill

February 17, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

Yesterday, The New York Times published an editorial about the lack of voting rights for residents of Washington, D.C.  The Times urged Congress to pass a bill that will give residents of the District of Columbia a voting member in the House of Representatives.

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DC Vote Launches Postcard Campaign For D.C. Voting Rights

February 11, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

People at a DC voting rights march outside the Wilson Building in Washington, D.C.

DC voting rights march outside the Wilson Building, home of the mayor and D.C. council, April 16, 2007. Photo credit: IntangibleArts

DC Vote recently launched a postcard campaign in support of the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009 (DC VRA), a bill that will give residents of Washington, D.C., a voting member in Congress.

Supporters of D.C. voting rights can fill out a form on the DC Vote website to send an electronic postcard directly to President Obama or they can print the postcard and send it by regular mail, urging him to support the DC VRA.  Obama supported a similar bill last year when he was a senator. 


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Virginia Senate Approves Absentee-Voter Bill

February 3, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

On January 26, the Virginia Senate approved a bill to allow no-excuse, in-person absentee voting in elections.  


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Voter ID

States with laws on the books requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote are: Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania (blocked for 2012 election), and Tennessee. Other states – Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, and New Hampshire – also require a photo ID. Learn more.

Go to Election Protection at www.866ourvote.org to find out what your state is requiring to vote.

And check out the Voter ID "Map of Shame" to see where laws have been passed, been stopped, or still face legal challenges.

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