ACLU taking on voting rights fight

Cyril Josh Barker | 9/28/2017, midnight
According to election numbers, the 2008 presidential election brought out the most diverse number of voters in U.S. history. Since ...
Voting/election Public Domain/PxHere

According to election numbers, the 2008 presidential election brought out the most diverse number of voters in U.S. history. Since then 27 measures were passed or implemented in 19 states that make it harder to vote.

The American Civil Liberties Union declared their opposition to the war on voting rights in the wake of the current political climate. The human rights organization recently rolled out its nationwide Let People Vote campaign aimed at combating laws they believe disenfranchise voters. The campaign is operating under the ACLU’s grassroots member-mobilization project, People Power.

Topics being addressed in the campaign include restoring the right to vote for people with prior criminal convictions, enacting early voting periods, online voter registration and Election Day registration.

President Donald Trump has long charged that he lost the popular vote by 3 million during the 2016 election because of voter fraud. His administration’s election commission held its second meeting earlier this month in New Hampshire where members of the public were not allowed to speak.

The commission is being led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has his own negative record of voter suppression. He’s a strong proponent of photo ID requirements in order to vote, which have been deemed discriminatory.

“Donald Trump created this commission because he was humiliated about losing the 2016 popular vote,” said ACLU’s Voting Rights Project Director Dale Ho. “Then he tapped Kris Kobach, the king of voter suppression, to lead it. Our election process must be secure, fair and transparent, yet Trump and Kobach are using their sham commission to spread the lie of rampant fraud as a Trojan Horse for voter suppression. We won’t let them get away with it.”

This month, public policy organization Dēmos and the ACLU filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court detailing how Ohio is violating the National Voter Registration Act by targeting registered voters who fail to vote in a two-year period for eventual removal from the registration rolls—even if they have not moved and are still fully eligible to vote.

In 2015, more than 40,600 registrants in Ohio’s largest county, Cuyahoga, were purged from the rolls using this process. A number of voters in Ohio have been denied their right to vote as a result.

“Voting should be free, fair and accessible, so that all eligible people can have their voices heard. Our democracy—and our federal laws—do not tolerate singling out voters who miss an election and canceling their registrations. States have many lawful ways to keep their rolls up to date without using practices that deny thousands of eligible people the right to vote,” said Brenda Wright, vice president, Policy & Legal Strategies at Dēmos.