Voting Rights

Restore My Vote Campaign

Information about Clemency

In April of 2007, Florida took a significant step toward full democracy for ex-offenders seeking to have their right to vote restored. Governor Charlie Crist persuaded the state's Clemency Board to adopt new regulations. The new rules "automatically" restore the rights of ex-offenders who have committed non-violent crimes, have completed their sentences and probation, and paid victim restitution.

Indiana Court Declares State's Voter ID Law Unconstitutional

Following the Indiana Court of Appeals unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel that the state’s voter ID law is unconstitutional, People For the American Way Director of Public Policy Tanya Clay House said, "It’s been a long time coming, but this is exciting news for Indiana voters and all of us concerned with protecting the right to vote of all Americans. Indiana's voter identification law was the most stringent in the country, and the Indiana Court of Appeals' decision to strike it down is correct. The court rightfully recognized the need to ensure voter security for all Indiana voters by reexamining the voter identification law, which would disproportionately harm minorities, the poor and the elderly."

DC Voting Rights Act Passes in the Senate

Statement of Tanya Clay House, PFAW Public Policy Director, on the news of Senate passage of the D.C. Voting Rights Act: "This is an historic victory for DC voting rights activists, the 600,000 District residents, and all who care about democracy. I'm proud that People For could play a substantial part in helping to enfranchise the 600,000 residents of the District of Columbia. We hope District residents will not have to wait much longer for voting representation on important issues of the day."

Senators Clear Path Toward Granting Full Representation For District Residents

Following today’s 62-34 cloture vote on the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act (S. 160), a bill that would give DC a representative with full voting rights in the House, PFAW President Kathryn Kolbert released the following statement: "I'm thrilled that the Senate finally seems to be ready to pass this legislation. It's disgraceful that citizens of our nation's capital have been denied a vote on critical issues of the day from equal pay for equal work to the important economic recovery act. Today's cloture vote is an important step forward."

People For Memo On Election Day '08 Voting Issues

While right-wing partisans tried to whip up a frenzy over non-existent voter fraud issues, thousands of eligible Americans still experienced challenges at the polls in part due to an organized effort to disenfranchise voters. These challenges included voter purges; voter intimidation and suppression including misleading fliers and misinformation from elections officials; challenges to their right to vote by partisan operatives, and absentee ballot problems.

Voting Rights Opponent Appeals to Supreme Court

As expected, the Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One (NAMUDNO), a public utility district in Travis County, Tex., filed a direct appeal Sept. 8, 2008 with the Supreme Court from a unanimous federal district ruling that it is exempt from Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

More Rights At Stake: A Preview of the Supreme Court's 2008-09 Term

A report from People For the American Way Foundation on a selection of cases the Supreme Court will consider in the term beginning October 6, 2008. In the 2008-09 term, the Court is set to consider a number of important cases involving voting rights, employment discrimination, free speech, and access to justice.

Republicans Block Emergency Ballot Bill in the House

In response to the failed vote on Rep. Zoe Lofgren's Emergency Ballot Bill, People For the American Way Director of Public Policy Tanya Clay House released the following statement:

People For the American Way Praises Governor Sebelius’ Veto of House Bill 2019

Today, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed House Bill 2019. If signed by the govenor, the bill would have instituted a burdensome proof of citizenship and identification requirement, potentially disenfranchising thousands of Kansas’ elderly, disabled, minority, and low-income voters. People For the American Way Senior Vice President and National Field Director Mary Jean Collins today praised Gov. Sebelius for standing up for the rights of Kansas voters, and hailed the veto as a victory for all voters.

People For the American Way Responds to Hans von Spakovsky’s Withdrawal of His Nomination to the FEC

Following Hans von Spakovsky’s withdrawal of his nomination to the Federal Election Commission, Tanya Clay House, Director of Public Policy at People For the American Way said, “It’s clear that Hans von Spakovsky, who worked under former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, was not an appropriate choice to sit on the Federal Election Commission, or any commission charged with overseeing Americans’ voting rights and fair election practices.

The New Face of Jim Crow: Voter Suppression in America

It is becoming much harder for many Americans to vote. The barriers range from unintentional to obvious to insidious, and they are proliferating across the nation. Racial minorities, students, the poor, and senior citizens are bearing the brunt of new rules and regulations that discourage and limit voting.

Supreme Court End-of-Term Analysis: 2005-06 Term

The 2005-06 term was clearly a period of transition for the Supreme Court, as Chief Justice Roberts replaced Chief Justice Rehnquist, and two justices in a sense replaced Justice O’Connor Justice Alito took her seat on the Court while Justice Kennedy replaced her as the “swing” vote in a number of closely divided cases. And while a relatively large number of the Court’s decisions this term were unanimous (generally where the Court was able to agree on a narrow approach and avoid divisive issues as in the New Hampshire abortion case), the new justices clearly pushed the Court towards the right in several important, closely divided cases.

The Long Shadow of Jim Crow: Voter Suppression in America

This report lays out a historical review of more than a hundred years of efforts to suppress and intimidate minority voters following emancipation, through Reconstruction and the “Second Reconstruction,” the years immediately following the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

Courting Disaster 2005

What would the actual impact be on Americans' rights and freedoms if the views of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas become the majority views on the Supreme Court? This report examines Scalia's and Thomas's opinions to answer that question, focusing on cases in which Scalia and Thomas have been in the minority on the Court, and the answer is nothing short of chilling.

John Ashcroft's First Six Months at the Justice Department: The Right Wing Dream Team Takes Over

This report examines the nomination of John Ashcroft for Attorney General by President George W. Bush. Based on Ashcroft's record as a senator and as Missouri state attorney general and governor, public interest advocates believed that Ashcroft was a right-wing ideologue who should not be entrusted with overseeing the enforcement of laws and the protection of constitutional guarantees affecting civil rights, civil liberties, religious liberty, reproductive rights, environmental protection, and more.

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