Voting Rights

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Europe: Madrid and London drafting deal to preserve voting rights after Brexit | EL PAÍS

Madrid and London are negotiating a bilateral treaty to maintain local voting rights for the 280,000 British nationals living in Spain and the more than 115,000 Spaniards residing in the UK, said diplomatic sources. On March 30, 2019, the UK will exit the European Union and British migrants will lose their right to vote in municipal elections. Whether or not British Prime Minister Theresa May secures parliamentary approval for the Brexit deal, UK nationals will no longer be considered EU citizens after that date. If there is agreement on the transition period, UK citizens in Spain will preserve most of their rights intact until December 2020, but this does not extend to voting in the municipal and European elections of May 26, 2019. Read More

National: Remembering Rosanell Eaton, An Outspoken Advocate for Voting Rights | NPR

When the Supreme Court shot down a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act — which required that certain places with a history of discriminating against voters get federal approval before making new changes to their voting laws — lawmakers in North Carolina wasted little time in passing sweeping new rules around voting. The state issued requirements for specific kinds of photo identification, cut back on early voting and preregistration. Supporters of the new laws, who were overwhelmingly Republican, insisted that the measures were necessary to prevent voting fraud. But voting rights experts and advocates said that voter fraud was extremely rare and that the rules would make it much harder for younger voters, poorer voters, and black people — groups that were more likely to vote for Democrats and less likely to have official identification — to cast their ballots. Read More

North Carolina: Rosanell Eaton, Fierce Voting Rights Advocate, Dies at 97 | The New York Times

Rosanell Eaton, a resolute African-American woman who was hailed by President Barack Obama as a beacon of civil rights for her role as a lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against a restrictive North Carolina voting law that reached the Supreme Court in 2016, died on Saturday in Louisburg, N.C. She was 97. Ms. Eaton’s daughter, Armenta Eaton, said she died in hospice care at the home they had shared in recent years. Caught up as a witness to history in one of the nation’s major controversies, Ms. Eaton, an obscure civil rights pioneer in her younger years, became a cause célèbre after Mr. Obama cited her courage in his response to a 2015 article in The New York Times Magazine about growing efforts to dismantle the protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. “I was inspired to read about unsung American heroes like Rosanell Eaton in Jim Rutenberg’s ‘A Dream Undone: Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act,’ ” Mr. Obama wrote in a letter to the editor. “I am where I am today only because men and women like Rosanell Eaton refused to accept anything less than a full measure of equality.” Read More

National: Voting rights return as post-campaign issue | ABC

They are questions that are central to democracy: who gets to vote, how accessible is voting and ensuring all ballots are counted fairly. Voting rights and ballot access kept popping up as campaign issues this year. Now they’re post-campaign issues — unavoidable and more urgent than ever. Voter access is and has been central in Georgia, where Tuesday’s run-off for secretary of state will close the books on the 2018 midterms. The race has implications for 2020 and beyond, following a closely contested gubernatorial race where lawsuits still linger. In New Hampshire on Wednesday, the longest-serving secretary of state in the nation could lose his job. Bill Gardner, the Democrat who famously sets the first-in-the-nation primary date every four years, has come under attack because he participated in the now-disbanded voter-fraud commission created by President Donald Trump. Read More

Georgia: U.S. voting rights trampled in Georgia governor’s race: lawsuit | Reuters

Advocates for Democrat Stacey Abrams filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday alleging far-reaching U.S. voting rights violations during the Georgia governor’s contest she lost this month to a Republican who ran the election as secretary of state. Abrams, who sought to become the nation’s first female African-American governor, pledged to fight for electoral changes after a protracted vote count saw Brian Kemp win the race by little more than 1 percent of nearly 4 million votes cast. Kemp resigned as secretary of state after the Nov. 6 election. The lawsuit filed by Fair Fight Action, a voting advocacy group headed by Abrams’ campaign manager, said state election officials “grossly mismanaged an election that deprived Georgia citizens, and particularly citizens of color, of their fundamental right to vote.” Read More

Georgia: Lawsuit seeks broad changes after alleged Georgia election problems | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A sweeping lawsuit filed Tuesday in the wake of Georgia’s fierce race for governor calls for a federal judge to overturn state laws that resulted in purged registrations, canceled ballots and many other obstacles to voting. Backed by former Democratic nominee for governor Stacey Abrams, the lawsuit continues a fight for voting rights that formed the foundation of her campaign. Abrams isn’t trying to change the result of this month’s election that she lost to Republican Brian Kemp, but the upcoming legal battle could decide the rules for elections in 2020 and beyond. The lawsuit, filed by a new group called Fair Fight Action, demands that Georgia use paper ballots to validate the accuracy of elections, stop canceling voter registrations of those who haven’t participated in a recent election and guarantee enough election equipment so voters don’t have to wait in line for three hours or more. It also seeks to weaken the state’s “exact match” law, which stalled voter registrations of some legitimate voters because they had hyphenated or long names. Read More

Georgia: In defeat, Abrams emerges as leading voting-rights advocate | Associated Press

Stacey Abrams broke the rules of politics until the very end. The Georgia Democrat who came about 60,000 votes shy of becoming America’s first black female governor refused to follow the traditional script for defeated politicians who offer gracious congratulations to their victorious competitor and gently exit the stage. Instead, Abrams took an unapologetically indignant tone that established her as a leading voting rights advocate. “I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election,” Abrams said in a fiery 12-minute address. “But to watch an elected official … baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling.” “So let’s be clear,” Abrams concluded, “this is not a speech of concession.” Read More

Utah: Navajos could tip balance after voting-rights battle | Associated Press

Tammie Nakai lives under a vista of red-rock spires and purple sunrise sky that offers arguably some of the United States’ most breathtaking views. But her home lacks what most of the country considers basic necessities: electric lines and running water. “It’s been that way my whole life, almost 31 years,” she said at the jewelry stand she and her husband run with pride in Monument Valley, a rural community near the Utah-Arizona border where tourists stand in the highway to re-create a famous running scene from “Forest Gump.” As she decides how she’ll cast her ballot, Navajo voters like Nakai could tip the balance of power in their county on Nov. 6. It’s the first general election since a federal judge decided racially gerrymandered districts illegally minimized the voices of Navajo voters who make a slim majority of San Juan County’s population. The county overlaps with the Navajo Nation, where people face huge disparities in health, education and economics. About 40 percent lack running water in their homes. Read More

Georgia: Judge considers new citizens held up from voting in Georgia | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A federal judge is considering ordering Georgia election officials to ensure that hundreds of new U.S. citizens can vote in next week’s election. U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross heard testimony Monday from voting rights groups who say many newly naturalized Americans have registered to vote but are being turned away at early-voting locations because their citizenship status hasn’t been updated in government computers. Ross said she’ll rule quickly before Election Day on Nov. 6. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit asked Ross to order county election workers to put voters who have proved their citizenship on the state’s list of active registered voters. At least 3,667 voter registration applications are on hold in Georgia because their citizenship couldn’t be verified by state driver’s license records. But those records aren’t often updated until Georgians renew their licenses, so those who became citizens after receiving their licenses are being flagged by the state until they show naturalization papers or a U.S. passport. Read More

Texas: Students sue Waller County, allege voting rights violations | Associated Press

A group of students from a historically black university have filed a lawsuit alleging a southeast Texas county is suppressing the voting rights of its black residents. In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Houston on Monday, five Prairie View A&M University students allege Waller County election officials are violating the civil rights of black students and residents in Prairie View — which is predominantly African-American — by not providing any early voting locations on campus or anywhere in the city during the first week of early voting, which started Monday. In the second week of early voting, the county is providing five days in Prairie View, but two of them are off-campus and at a site that is not easily accessible to many students who lack transportation, according to the lawsuit. Read More