The Right to Vote

PFAW Foundation Report: The Right to Vote Under Attack

“I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

-- Paul Weyrich, “founding father of the modern conservative movement,”1980

A new Right Wing Watch: In Focus report by People For the American Way Foundation reveals how the Right Wing distorts and exaggerates the impact of improper voting in order to implement policies that keep millions of eligible Americans from casting votes. The report, “The Right to Vote Under Attack: The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box,” is available here.

“Laws proposed to address the mythical problem of ‘voter fraud’ undermine the very foundation of our democracy,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way Foundation. “The Right Wing, with no evidence, has propagated the myth of widespread voter fraud as an excuse to create laws that are all about making it harder for people vote. Their clear target is driving down Democratic turnout and installing in office people who will do the bidding of the Right Wing and their Republican allies. Stealing elections by systematically disenfranchising millions of voters is as unpatriotic as it gets.”

The report uncovers:

  • The extreme rarity of fraudulent voting and its negligible impact on even the closest elections
  • The partisan agenda behind anti-voter fraud laws
  • The vote-suppressing strategies employed by states, including photo-ID requirements and restricting DMV hours in Democratic-leaning jurisdictions
  • The secretive forces that fund and draft vote-suppressing legislation

“This report reveals just how the far the Right Wing is willing to go to win elections,” continued Keegan. “Eroding the achievements of the Civil Rights movement by disenfranchising voters is abhorrent. All Americans have a fundamental right to vote, and we need to be vigilant to make sure that ever eligible voter is ready and able to vote on Election Day.”

The report is available here.

The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box

A new Right Wing Watch: In Focus report from People For the American Way Foundation examines the myriad ways Americans' right to vote is under attack by politicians and interests whose electoral success often depends on denying ballot access to certain communities.

PFAW Foundation Stands with Americans to Expose ALEC

Today, a group of concerned Americans held a press conference outside of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)’s summer meeting in New Orleans.

ALEC: The Voice of Corporate Special Interests In State Legislatures

Our Right Wing Watch In Focus looks at the American Legislative Exchange Council, a right-wing policy group that funnels pro-corporate legislation to the states at the expense of citizens whose rights and interests are sold off to the highest bidder.

Supreme Court Strikes Another Blow to Clean Elections

The Supreme Court today, in a 5-4 decision, struck down the long-standing Arizona law providing matching funds for publicly financed candidates running against well-financed opponents.

African American Ministers In Action Supports A Voice for the District of Columbia

Speaking out against several policy riders that have been passed or threatened by conservatives in Congress, Delegate Norton, DC Mayor Vincent Gray, DC Vote, and members of the civil rights community voiced their support for autonomy and the right to self-government for the people of the District of Columbia.

Condemning Extreme Social Policy Riders, PFAW Calls For DC Voting Rights

Speaking out against several policy riders that have been passed or threatened by conservatives in Congress, Delegate Norton, DC Mayor Vincent Gray, DC Vote, and members of the civil rights community voiced their support for autonomy and the right to self-government for the people of the District of Columbia.

Appeals Court Strikes Down Arizona Proof of Citizenship Law

In a victory for voting rights advocates yesterday, a federal appeals court in Phoenix struck down a key part of an Arizona law requiring voters to produce proof of citizenship before registering to vote

Promoting the Right to Vote: Enfranchising Our Nation’s Capital

Nearly 600,000 Americans live in Washington, DC, and they deserve the right to representation in Congress like everyone else. We must take steps to fully enfranchise Americans living in our nation’s capital.

PFAW: Where We've Been and Where We're Going

The recent and unparalleled resurgence of right-wing extremism in todays politics concerns us deeply. But thanks to three decades of PFAW activists, we can meet any challenge.

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."

Supreme Court Upholds Section 5 of Voting Rights Act

The Supreme Court today rejected a challenge to Section Five of the Voting Rights Act in the case Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder (NAMUDNO). People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker issued the following statement:

"We are very pleased with the outcome of this case. The Court today preserved all aspects of the Voting Rights Act and its ability to ensure the full and equal right to vote which is at the core of our democracy.

PFAW Urges Florida Legislature to Reject Restrictive Registration and Voter ID Rules

Bill would ban ID frequently used by seniors, force voters who have recently moved to vote on ballots that often go uncounted, and make it harder for groups registering voters

Tallahassee, FL—With two weeks left in the legislative session, members of the Florida Legislature are working hard to pass a bill that could suppress the vote of hundreds of thousands of Florida voters, and criminalize well-meaning activists who want to bring more people to the polls.

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."

High Court to Hear Voting Rights Case

The Supreme Court today announced that it would hear Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Mukasey. People For the American Way, on behalf of its members, is an intervenor defendant in the case. PFAW President Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement: "I'm extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court has decided not to affirm outright the lower court decision upholding the constitutionality of the pre-clearance provision of the Voting Rights Act. It's another reminder of how far to the right the Court has moved that this decades old civil rights legislation is now in jeopardy despite having been found constitutional by the very same court in the past. The Voting Rights Act is a landmark in our nation's struggle to move beyond the poisonous racism of our past, and it remains a necessary protection for vulnerable communities."

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.

Documenting Democracy in 2008

People For the American Way is participating in the nonpartisan Video the Vote project, which aims to document democracy in action on Election D

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