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Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 06.20.19

Thursday, June 20, 2019
Our highlighted issues, actions, and events in the democracy movement this week—please share widely.

SHELBY COUNTY V. HOLDER 6th ANNIVERSARY ACTION

REMINDER:

We're asking our partners to join us in commemorating the 6th Anniversary of the Shelby County v. Holder decision next week by taking THREE actions:

  1. Send FIVE members and staff to the June 25 Hearing, scheduled for 10AM-12PM in Washington DC. RSVP here. The Leadership Conference also has a spreadsheet for events in the stateswe want the DI represented at each event!
  2. Send an action alert to your members, urging them to take action by calling members of Congress (202-224-3121) on Monday, June 24 and tell their legislators that our democracy needs a fully restored Voting Rights Act today.
  3. Tweet and post on social media, acknowledging the moment's growing demand for reform and articulating why your organization supports the restoration of the Voting Rights Act. Sample tweets here.

Tuesday, June 25 marks the six-year anniversary of the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court decision, which infamously gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, allowing states to implement election laws that erected barrier after barrier for Americans trying to vote.

The Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights has produced a broad toolkit to help partners and allies commemorate Monday, June 24 to Sunday, June 30  by renewing the call to #RestoreTheVOTE.

DOWNLOAD THE TOOLKIT HERE

We've reproduced a few sample tweets below for quick access:

  • It’s been six years since #SCOTUS gutted the Voting Rights Act. Congress must fix this injustice so that we have the tools to effectively combat current racial discrimination in voting. It’s time for lawmakers to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act to #RestoreTheVOTE!
  • Congress must restore the protections against racial discrimination in voting that #SCOTUS destroyed in 2013. Building a government that is representative of ALL its people is critical to our ability to solve some of our country’s most pressing challenges. #RestoreTheVOTE
  • Without a functional democracy in which everyone is included, heard, and represented, we cannot make real progress on other important civil and human rights issues. That's why Congress MUST pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act to #RestoreTheVOTE.

For further information and questions, contact Jordyn Bussey at jbussey@civilrights.org.

UPCOMING DEMOCRACY EVENTS—TAKE ACTION

BALTIMORE FAIR ELECTIONS—PRESSER SCHEDULE

Join us for the kickoff of the Baltimore City Fair Elections implementation bill! After voters overwhelmingly passed Question H for small donor, public financing of elections, we must make sure their demands become reality.

Help us reach our goal of turning out 60 people for the Monday, June 24 press conference and hearing!

WHEN: 4:00PM, Monday, June 24. Hearing begins at 5:00PM.
WHERE: Outside the Council building, 100 N. Holliday St. Baltimore, MD 21202.

Baltimore Fair Elections has provided a one-pager and a sample email to assist with messaging and turnout. Please encourage staff and members in the area to attend.

For more information, contact Joanne Antoine at jantoine@commoncause.org.

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#SHOWUP4DC—DC STATEHOOD HEARING & TOOLKIT

Join us and #ShowUp4DC by attending the July 24 hearing on D.C. Statehood!

At the core of our democracy is the simple principle: one person, one vote. Over 700,000 D.C. residents, in our nation’s Capital, are denied their voice by lacking representation in Congress. On July 24, the House Oversight and Reform Committee will hear testimony on H.R. 51, the Washington DC Admission Act.

We’re asking our partner organizations to #ShowUp4DC, by standing in solidarity with D.C. residents as they fight for full representation and equality. We need you to take action with our partners at DCVote!

For more information and ways to engage, contact Barbara Helmick at bhelmick@dcvote.org.

SAVE THE DATE: DC TRAINING #INTERNEDITION

STATE UPDATES: DEMOCRACY IN THE NEWS

NEVADA—DEMOCRACY WINS BIG IN LEGISLATIVE SESSION

On May 31, at the close of its 2019 Legislative session, the Nevada legislature passed several laws that expand voting rights and fosters fair and accurate representation. Lawmakers also placed a state constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot that enshrines and expands protections for Nevadans' ability to vote.

Some of the laws passed this session include:

  • Ending the prohibition on voting for Nevadans with felony convictions who are on parole, probation, and those permanently disenfranchised.
  • Ending prison gerrymandering, by counting prisoners for redistricting purposes in the district of their last address, rather than the location of the prison in which they’re kept.
  • Expanding early voting availability, and expanding absentee ballot access.
  • Implementing automatic voter registration, which voters passed by ballot measure in the 2018 midterm election, as well as instituting Election Day Registration.

Read more here.

VIRGINIA—SCOTUS STRIKES DOWN RACIAL GERRYMANDER

On Monday, June 17, the Supreme Court ruled against the Virginia House of Delegates in a redistricting case that defines Virginia district maps as constitutive of a racial gerrymander. The Supreme Court dismantled the gerrymander by finding that the Virginia House did not have standing to appeal the lower court’s decision. Now, the House is required to redraw fair maps in time for the 2020 elections. Monday’s victory means Virginia constituents will be able to vote in fair districts that don’t attempt to dilute the votes of Black and brown voters.

Read more here.

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