In a successful effort to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 Elections, the Republican party engaged in a multi-pronged strategy to disenfranchise voters of color, poor voters, and voters with disabilities. Using voter purging, voter ID restrictions, polling place closures, ADA violations and felony disenfranchisement, the GOP successfully suppressed 50-60 million voters nationwide.
Voter ID Restrictions: 21 million voters have been deprived their Constitutional right to vote as the result of voter ID restrictions.
Polling Closures: And additional 16 million voters that live below the poverty line and identify as Democrat were unable to cast a vote because of polling closures, lack of alternatives to in person voting, inability to afford time off of work to vote and lack of transportation to polling locations.
Felony Disenfranchisement: Over 6 million people nationwide have been prevented from voting because of felony disenfranchisement.
Just under 63 million people voted for Trump.
Just under 66 million voted for Clinton.
There is no doubt that the intentional elimination of tens of millions of minority voters from polling booths and registration rolls around the country influenced the outcome of the 2016 elections. There is also no doubt that this effect directly benefitted the Republican Party and the Trump Administration.
SIIP believes that beyond being an attack on the Democratic Party, the Republican assault on voting rights is an attack on Democracy itself. We believe that every eligible citizen should be able to cast a vote in the 2018 mid-term elections. We are calling on the Democratic Party to stand against the GOP and to stand up for its constituents’ right to vote by:
- Voluntarily Moving to Eliminate Voting Restrictions at the State and Local Levels
This includes voluntarily withdrawing from voter purging systems, taking measures to repeal voter id restrictions, and ensuring voting is accessible.
- Flooding the circuit and district courts with challenges to Voter Suppression policies
These challenges must specifically fall under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Amendment (applying the Harper Balancing Test)
Take Suppression to Court
A Revolution, a Civil War and a Civil Rights Movement were all waged in order to ensure that the federal right for all eligible voters is upheld, even when under attack by a political party or the states themselves. These efforts were codified in the Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
While the Republican Party has successfully designed and diffused a modern wave of Jim Crow voting policies that have led to the disenfranchisement of 50-60 million voters nationwide, federal circuit and district courts have consistently upheld challenges to local and statewide disenfranchisement efforts. These challenges, though, remain few and far between.
This needs to change immediately.
The Republican Party has engaged in a fully funded, resourced and largely successful effort to strip the voting rights of people of color, people living with disabilities and people living below the poverty line. It will take no less effort from the Democratic Party to stop them and reverse the damage.
The Democrats have the resources and the ability to ensure that voter ID laws, voter purging policies, ADA violations, polling closures and felony disenfranchisement all overturned in the circuit and district courts. They also have the responsibility to protect their constituents’ right to vote.
It is far past time that the Democratic Party confronted the GOP’s use of voter suppression tactics directly. The Strategic Institute of Intersectional Policy (SIIP) is formally requesting the Democratic Party to take immediate action to ensure that every eligible voter is re-enfranchised and able to cast a vote by the 2018 midterm elections.
To this end, we are also requesting the Democratic Party to flood the circuit and district courts with challenges to Voter ID laws, the Interstate Crosscheck System, ADA violations, polling closures and felony disenfranchisement. We are further requesting that these challenges specifically fall under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Amendment (applying the Harper Balancing Test)
Voluntarily Move to Eliminate Voting Restrictions at the State and Local Levels
Democrats are not limited to power in Congress or through the courts. There is much that the Democratic party can do at the state and local levels to both protect constituents form attacks by the GOP and to reinforce the rights of targeted communities.
For example, Democrats can move to repeal voter ID restrictions through traditional state practices. The processes by which legislation can be repealed varies by state, but all efforts should be made to eliminate Voter ID restrictions in the 34 states that carry them — especially Blue States.
The Democratic Party can also direct its secretaries of state to immediately withdraw from the Interstate Crosscheck System. There are a number of Democratic Secretaries of State that participate in the voter purging program. They are under no obligation to remain contracted with Kris Kobach, and as such should remove themselves immediately. Oregon, Florida, and Pennsylvania have done so already. The remaining Democratic Crosscheck states can and should follow suit while the Democrats challenge Crosscheck in the lower federal courts.
Blue States and localities can also take action to make voting accessible in their territories while fighting polling closures and ADA violations in the courts. Similarly, they can work to immediately implement policies and practices that increase alternatives to in-person voting without the need for Congressional approval or court interference.
SIIP believes that it is the responsibility of the Democratic Party to use every legal, political, economic, and social channel at their disposal to fight against the deprivation of the Constitutional right to vote and for the re-enfranchisement of every suppressed voter by the 2018 Mid-Term Elections.
If history has taught us anything, it is that the battle for voting rights in the United States takes consistent, coordinated and strategic action. No one march, petition, letter writing campaign or lawsuit will be enough to ensure that mass voter suppression is ended or that all 50-60 million suppressed voters are re-enfranchised. It will take an aggressive and sustained combination of these efforts to achieve our goals. Below is a variety of ways you can participate in this historic effort to ensure every voter can cast a ballot by 2018.
If you’d like to sign a petition to let your Democratic Representative know that you want them to take action to end voter suppression, click on the links below.Voter ID Restrictions
Petition To End Voter ID Restrictions by 2018
Petition To End Voter Purging by 2018
If you’d like to send a letter to your Democratic Representative about taking action to end voter suppression, click on the links below.Voter ID Restrictions
Letter Requesting Democrats to End Voter ID Restrictions by 2018
Letter Requesting Democrats to End Voter Purging by 2018
Sustained Action + Policy Demands
Sustained strategic action coupled with clear demands for legislative action have proven to be one of the most, if not the most, effective formula for civil rights reform in the United States. Marching without a clear objective connected to federal policy consistently falls flat. Legal action without the backing of the people can be effective, but often only at the local and state levels. The achievement of federal reform – especially in cases of civil rights in general and voting rights specifically – requires both sustained strategic action and clear legislative demands.
Political strategy, like any other field, is occupied by both professionals and novices. In other words, there are experts in the field that have the experience and knowledge necessary to organize sustained actions and political demands – and there are those that, despite intention and passion – are not qualified to lead such an endeavor. Every effort should be made to ensure that experts form the community are placed in leadership positions when strategically organizing public actions and demands.
For more information on organizing for results, you can explore the following links or find more information in the SIIP Action Center.