Voting Rights

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Indonesia: Millions of indigenous people may lose voting rights: Alliance | The Jakarta Post

Around three million indigenous people in areas across Indonesia may not be able to participate in the 2018 regional elections and 2019 legislative and presidential elections because they do not have e-ID cards, an alliance said on Thursday. Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) secretary general Rukka Sombolinggi said around one million out of the three million indigenous people lived in conservation areas, which did not belong to any village or other administrative area. Another one million are native faith followers, Rukka went on to say. Although the Constitutional Court has granted them the right to state their beliefs on their e-ID cards, they are still facing problems when they want to cite their religious preferences, she added. Read More

New Hampshire: Judge considering request to dismiss voter rights lawsuit | Associated Press

New Hampshire officials on Tuesday urged a judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a state law that requires additional documentation from voters who move to the state within 30 days of an election, suggesting it wasn’t harming anyone. The state Democratic Party and the League of Women Voters filed lawsuits against the state last year, claiming the SB3 law was confusing, unnecessary and intimidating. A judge in September allowed the law to take effect but blocked penalties of a $5,000 fine and a year in jail for fraud and said further hearings were necessary. The lawsuits have since been consolidated. Read More

National: Voting rights battles in state legislatures could determine November results | McClatchy

The battle for control of Congress in this fall’s midterm elections may be decided in state legislatures this spring when voting rights legislation could be in bloom. So far this year, at least 16 bills aimed at making it harder to vote have been introduced in eight states, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. The proposals include a mix of photo ID requirements for voters, curbs on voter registration activity, cuts to early voting opportunities and new barriers to absentee voting. Meanwhile, 144 bills to expand voter access have been introduced in 22 states. Many call for automatic, same-day and online voter registration. Others would expand absentee and early voting. And with the legislation, campaign-style rhetoric has heated up. Read More

National: Black lawmakers continue King’s fight for jobs, justice and voting | USA Today

Three years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., 13 black members of Congress formed a group to tackle issues affecting their districts and constituents. Today, the Congressional Black Caucus has a record 48 members. Many say they’re fighting some of the same battles that the group’s founders fought nearly five decades ago. “There has been some progress. I don’t think that any of us would have thought … that in 2008 this country could elect an African-American president,” says Rep. Terri Sewell, a Democrat from Alabama. “But I think that we have to be ever vigilant fighting for jobs and justice. Those issues are still very much at the forefront today.” “I do believe that Martin Luther King’s life, and his legacy, was not in vain.” Read More

Malaysia: Transgender voters face dreaded path to the ballot box | Malaysiakini

A group of Malaysians are hesitant about going to the polls this year – because it is too dangerous for them. “To be honest, even I myself previously didn’t want to vote,” said Nisha Ayub, a prominent transgender rights activist, when asked about her voting experience in the general elections. “That is not because I don’t know my rights, it’s that I just don’t want to go through the process. You have to queue and to give your IC (identity card). All things about the IC are a problem to us,” she explained. Read More

United Kingdom: A century after women got the vote, many people are still disenfranchised | The Guardian

Barbara Waterman was born 13 years after the Representation of the People Act gave women over 30 the right to vote in 1918. But it was not until three years ago, in the 2015 election, at the age of 83, that she finally used that right. Until then, Waterman thought she was barred because of her learning disability. Her belief that universal suffrage didn’t extend to people such as her is not uncommon, according to Dimensions, a charity that runs a scheme to help and encourage people with learning disabilities and autism to vote. What changed for Waterman was that she became involved in the charity’s Love Your Vote scheme. It gave her a “voting passport”: a document that provides instructions for polling station staff regarding how she would like to be assisted to vote. After studying Easy Read manifestos produced by each of the political parties online, Waterman was supported to cast her vote for the first time in 2015, then again in June 2017. “The voting passport helped me remember what to do when I got to the place where you vote,” says Waterman. Read More

Editorials: The state of voting rights in America | Debo P. Adegbile/News & Observer

The vote is the most powerful tool in a democracy. To harness its full power however, voting must be accessible, protected and broadly exercised. In his award-winning history of voting in America, Professor Alexander Keyssar explains that American democracy is contested. He traces the history of the vote from the revolutionary period to contemporary times and shows that our nation, conceived in democratic ideals, has expanded the franchise only gradually and with the concerted efforts of those demanding access to the vote, and through it, to meaningful inclusion within the nation’s political life. Read More

Editorials: One Person, One Vote | David Leonhardt/The New York Times

Voting rights have been under attack recently. In several states, officials — almost all of them Republican, alas — have tried to reduce voting hours, close polling stations or erect barriers to voting, like strict ID rules. These measures have disproportionately affected minorities. In fact, that has sometimes been the stated goal. But now a counterattack is underway. Not only are civil-rights advocates fighting the various attempts to restrict voting, they’re also pushing for new laws to expand it. One of those efforts took a step forward this week. Organizers in Florida announced that they had gathered enough signatures to put an initiative on the ballot this November that would restore voting rights to nearly 1.5 million convicted felons. Today, felon disenfranchisement denies the right to vote to one in five black Floridians — and 10 percent of the state’s total voting population. Read More

Texas: Texas voting rights litigation spotlights Greg Abbott’s role | Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Days before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the scene that played out among the Greater Arlington Missionary Baptist Church’s wooden pews was, in some ways, reminiscent of the civil rights movement from decades before. Civil rights activists and social justice advocates had gathered to plan a protest. They talked about the fight for equity and the importance of standing up for their community. And they discussed the role of a collective voice to draw attention to the grievances laid out by the NAACP’s Arlington branch over the selection of Gov. Greg Abbott as the North Texas MLK parade’s honorary grand marshal. Abbott “has done more to damage and undermine African-American and Latino civil and voter rights” than any modern-day governor, the NAACP-Arlington said. It pointed, in part, to the role of Abbott, a former attorney general, in both defending and advocating for redistricting maps and strict voter ID requirements that have been tangled up in court for years over concerns they discriminate against Texans of color. Read More

U.S. Territories: 7th Circuit rules vs expanding territorial voting rights | Saipan Tribune

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled Saturday against expanding territorial voting rights in Segovia v. United States. The case presented an equal protection challenge by plaintiffs in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands who would be able to absentee vote for President and voting representation in Congress if they lived in other U.S. territories or a foreign country, but are denied such rights. The appeals court panel concluded that plaintiffs lacked legal standing to challenge federal overseas voting laws, a potentially far-reaching conclusion that has previously been rejected by other courts. Read More