VOTE SMART & VOTE DEMOCRAT 2014

10/23/2014

2014 VOTE DEMOCRATS INTO SENATE 2014 Congressional Elections Vote Every Election

Vote Every Election

Let’s be very clear, while we’re tuning out and staying home on Election Day, other folks are tuning in.  Other folks are taking politics very seriously.  And they’re engaged on every level.  They’re raising money.  They’re making their voices heard –- and their issues known –- from City Hall to Washington, DC.  And I know that in the face of all of that money and influence, it can start to feel like ordinary citizens just can’t get a seat at the table.  And that can make you feel helpless and hopeless.  It can make you feel or think that you’re powerless.

But I’m here today because that’s simply not true.  We are not helpless or hopeless.  Time and again, history has shown us that there is nothing –- nothing -– more powerful than ordinary citizens coming together for a just cause.”

” I’m talking about the tireless, the thankless, relentless work of making change — you know, the phone-calling, letter-writing, door-knocking, meeting-planning kind of work.  That is the real work of democracy –- what happens during those quiet moments between the marches. “

“That is how we carry on that precious legacy we’ve inherited — by recommitting ourselves to that day-to-day, vitally important work that has always paved the way for change in this country.

What does that mean?  That means being informed.  It means following the news, and learning about who’s representing us, and how our governments work.  It means showing up to vote — and not just every four years, but every year in every election.  It means engaging with the folks we elect, following how they vote and how they spend our hard-earned tax dollars.  And if you don’t like what you see, then let them know, or better yet, run for a seat at the table yourself.  “

June 28, 2012 First Lady Michelle Obama at the AME Church Conference

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“The vote is the most powerful instrument, the most powerful non-violent tool in a democratic society.”

U.S. Representative John Robert Lewis

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VOTE SMART & VOTE DEMOCRAT 2014

التصويت على 5 نوفمبر

投票于11月4日

Vote sur Novembre 4

Abstimmen am 4. November

הצביעו ב -4 בנובמבר

Vota il 4 novembre

11月4日投票

11 월 4 일 투표

Votação em 4 de novembro

Проголосовать 4 ноября

votar el 4 de noviembre

Bình chọn vào ngày 4 tháng 11

Vote Forward


National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights – 35th Anniversary

10/13/2014
1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian & Gay Rights

1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian & Gay Rights

The National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights was a large political rally that took place in Washington, D.C. on October 14, 1979. The first such march on Washington, it drew between 75,000 and 125,000 gay men, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people and straight allies to demand equal civil rights and urge the passage of protective civil rights legislation.

History and Planning

The first major attempt at organizing a national gay and lesbian march on Washington occurred Thanksgiving Weekend 1973 in Urbana-ChampaignIllinois. The National Gay Mobilizing Committee for a March on Washington (NGMC), organized by Jeff Graubart, attempted to coordinate a coalition of extant LGBT organizations to plan a March on Washington. Early efforts were met with resistance from local and national LGBT organizations, and plans for a march were ultimately postponed.

The next organization attempt was to occur in Minneapolis the weekend of November 17–19, 1978. A steering committee was created to prepare for the Minneapolis conference, and it identified a primary goal of the march as transforming the gay movement from local to national. However, the committee was dissolved in October 1978 due to internal dissent. Harvey Milk, who had been on the Minneapolis steering committee, took up the reins to continue march organization, and had secured support from local DC groups who had previously dissented before he was assassinated by Dan White. Milk’s assassination served as a catalyst and a touchstone for organizers, who next planned a conference in Philadelphia February 23–25, 1979. One male and one female delegate was invited from known lesbian and gay organizations, and the attendees set forth to address three primary questions. First, whether or not a march should take place. Second, what the organizational structure of the march should be. And third, the platform of the march. An initial debate between marching in 1979 and 1980 sprung up, but 1979 was settled upon as it fell on the ten-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Once these issues were settled and issues of female and minority representation were handled, the conference set forth five demands that would serve as the platform for the march. The participants chose to focus on single-issue politics so as not to dilute the message of a united lesbian and gay community. The final organizational push occurred at a conference at the University of Houston campus July 6–8, 1979.

The National Steering Committee, with mandated gender parity and 25% representation of People of Color, was selected by community meetings throughout the country. Policy/Overview and Administrative Committees were established to guide the work and decisions between Steering Committee meetings. The National Office was set up in New York City with Joyce Hunter and Steven Ault as National Coordinators.

Platform

The Five Demands, as drafted by Joe Smenyak and amended by the conference delegates were as follows:

  • Pass a comprehensive lesbian/gay rights bill in Congress
  • Issue a presidential executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal government, the military, and federally contracted private employment
  • Repeal all anti-lesbian/gay laws
  • End discrimination in lesbian-mother and gay-father custody cases
  • Protect lesbian and gay youth from any laws which are used to discriminate, oppress, and/or harass them in their homes, schools, jobs, and social environments

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_March_on_Washington_for_Lesbian_and_Gay_Rights

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US LGBT Rights Timeline 1903-2014

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Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 44th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner

09/25/2014

pbo cbc phoenix dinner 2014

Congressional Black Congress

Since its establishment in 1971, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have joined together to empower America’s neglected citizens and to address their legislative concerns.For more than 40 years, the CBC has consistently been the voice for people of color and vulnerable communities in Congress and has been committed to utilizing the full Constitutional power, statutory authority, and financial resources of the Government of the United States of America to ensure that everyone in the United States has an opportunity to achieve their version of the American Dream.

The legislative agenda of universal empowerment that Members of the Congressional Black Caucus collectively pursue include but are not limited to: the creation of universal access to a world-class education from birth through post secondary level; the creation of universal access to quality, affordable health care and the elimination of racially based health disparities; the creation of universal access to modern technology, capital and full, fairly-compensated employment; the creation and or expansion of U.S. foreign policy initiatives that will contribute to the survival, health, education and general welfare of all peoples of the world in a manner consistent with universal human dignity, tolerance and respect and such other legislative action as a majority of the entire CBC Membership may support.

For more: http://cbc.fudge.house.gov

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POTUS to Deliver Keynote at 2014 CBCF Phoenix Awards Dinner

September 19, 2014 cbcfinc.org

WASHINGTON—The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF) today announced President Barack Obama as the keynote speaker for the 44th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) Phoenix Awards Dinner, 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

“We are again honored to have former CBC member President Barack Obama address this year’s Phoenix Awards Dinner,” said A. Shuanise Washington, president and CEO of the CBCF. “Since the beginning of his first term, President Obama’s administration has been on the front lines in the ongoing fight for social justice, equal access to healthcare and economic empowerment for all Americans. We are proud to call him a partner in our mission to eliminate the civil and social disparities that many African Americans and black communities continue to face.”

CBCF also announced the full list of the 2014 Phoenix Award honorees: media mogul Cathy Hughes; legendary boxer and activist Muhammad Ali; editor, writer and producer Susan L. Taylor; civil rights leader Wade Henderson; and chairman of FE Holdings, Inc., Robert L. Wright, Jr.

For more: http://www.cbcfinc.org/2014-archive/778-potus-to-deliver-keynote-at-2014-cbcf-phoenix-awards-dinner.html

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Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 44th Annual Legislative Conference
Phoenix Awards Dinner
September 27, 2014
Keynote Speaker: President Barack H. Obama
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC

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Sen. Harry Reid’s Constitutional Amendment Bill to Limit Money in Politics

09/07/2014

Citizens United

Reid schedules vote in September on amending the Constitution

August 01, 2014, 03:12 pm By Ramsey Cox – TheHIll

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has set up a procedural vote for September on a constitutional amendment to limit money in politics.

Before adjourning for a five-week recess on Friday, Reid filed cloture on the motion to proceed to S.J. Res. 19, which is designed to overturn two recent Supreme Court decisions that allowed corporations, labor unions and wealthy individuals to spend more money on federal elections.

The procedural vote on the constitutional amendment is set for 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 8.

The amendment is certain to fail in the Senate because Republicans generally support the high court’s decisions in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. FEC, arguing they removed limits on free speech.

“This partisan effort to weaken the First Amendment is the clearest proof yet of how out of touch the Democrat Majority has become from the needs and concerns of ordinary Americans and how ill-equipped they are to lead in these challenging times,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday. “Washington Democrats have forgotten that the First Amendment is meant to empower the people, not the government.”

The 2010 Citizens United ruling struck down restrictions that had barred corporations and unions from spending money from their general treasury funds to support or oppose candidates. In McCutcheon, the court struck aggregate limits on individual contributions to candidates.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/214089-reid-sets-up-vote-to-reverse-citizens-united-decision
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Senate moves forward with amendment to the Constitution on elections

9/8/14 By Ramsey Cox – theHill

The Senate on Monday advanced a constitutional amendment meant to reverse two recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign spending.

Republicans are likely to vote against the amendment when it comes up for a final vote, but by allowing it to proceed, ensured that it will tie up the Senate for most of the week.

More than 20 Republicans joined Democrats in the 79-18 vote advancing the amendment, well over the 60 votes that were needed.

The amendment is almost certain to fail, as it would need to win two-thirds support to pass the Senate, and then would still need to move through the House and be ratified by two-thirds of the states.

“We should have debate on this important amendment,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said before voting for cloture. “The majority should be made to answer why they want to silence critics.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he would gladly debate the issue for as long as Republicans require because the amendment is necessary to keep “dark money” out of politics.

For more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/217025-senate-advances-constitutional-amendment-on-campaign-spending
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Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission558 U.S. 50 (2010)

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. The nonprofit corporation Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA”). In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that portions of BCRA §203 violated the First Amendment.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission

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July 16, 2012

Statement by President Obama on the DISCLOSE Act

Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that big corporations are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence American elections. They can buy millions of dollars’ worth of TV ads with no obligation to reveal who’s actually paying for them.

The consequences of this decision are predictable. If we allow this practice to continue, special interests will have unprecedented influence over politicians. It’s wrong. It’s corrosive to our democracy, and it’s a threat to our future.

Today, Republicans in the Senate had the chance to change it. They had the opportunity to support a bill that would prevent the worst effects of the Citizens United decision and require groups or special interests who are trying to influence elections to reveal their donors so the public will know who’s funding their political ads. This bill should have received broad, bipartisan support.

Unfortunately, Republicans chose to block it. Instead of standing up for the American people, Republicans stood with big banks and oil companies – special interests that certainly don’t need more clout in Washington.

I will continue to do everything I can to repair the deficit of trust between Washington and the American people. I’m disappointed Republicans in Congress failed to take action and hold corporations and special interests accountable to the American people.

BILL MOYERS: Here’s a significant revelation of which you may not be aware. The plutocrats know it and love it, and the rest of us should be forewarned. When the Supreme Court made its infamous Citizens United decision, liberating plutocrats to buy our elections fair and square, the justices may have effectively overturned rules that kept bosses from ordering employees to do political work on company time. Election law expert Trevor Potter told us that now “corporations argue that it is a constitutionally protected use of corporate ‘resources’ to order employees to do political work or attend campaign events—even if the employee opposes the candidate, or is threatened with being fired for failure to do what the corporation asks.”

Reporter Mike Elk at In These Times magazine came across a recording of Governor Mitt Romney on a conference call in June with some business executives. The Governor told them there is quote, “nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well.”

And here’s Governor Romney two months later, campaigning at an Ohio coal mine:

MITT ROMNEY: This is a time for truth. I listened to an ad on the way here. I’ll tell you, you got a great boss. He runs a great operation here. And he—Bob? Where are you Bob? There he is.

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Bill Moyers on Citizen’s United Decision

“Look at all those miners around him, steadfastly standing in support, right? They work for a company called Murray Energy and attendance at the rally, without pay, was mandatory. Murray Energy is notorious for violating safety regulations, sometimes resulting in injuries and deaths. And the company has paid millions in fines. The CEO, Bob Murray, a well-known climate change denier and cutthroat businessman, insists that his employees contribute to his favorite anti-regulatory candidates, or else. In one letter uncovered by “The New Republic” magazine, Murray wrote quote, “We have been insulted by every salaried employee who does not support our efforts.” So much for voting rights and the secret ballot at Murray Energy.

Mike Elk discovered that the Koch Brothers, David and Charles – who have pledged to spend $60 million defeating President Obama – have sent a “voter information packet” to the employees of Georgia Pacific, one of their subsidiaries. It includes a list of recommended candidates, pro-Romney and anti-Obama editorials written by the Koch’s and a cover letter from the company president. If we elect the wrong people, Dave Robertson writes, “Many of our more than 50,000 US employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.” Other ills? Like losing your job?

This is snowballing. Timeshare king David Siegel of Westgate Resorts reportedly has threatened to fire employees if Barack Obama is re-elected and Arthur Allen, who runs ASG Software Solutions, e-mailed his employees, “If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th, and we lose our independence as a company, I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come.”

Back in the first Gilded Age, in the 19th century, bosses and company towns lined up their workers and marched them to vote as a block. As we said at the beginning of this broadcast, the Gilded Age is back with a vengeance. Welcome to the plutocracy. The remains of the ol’ USA.”

Source: http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-plutocracy-rising/

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HEADLINES OF GOP Blocking the DISCLOSE ACT

* Senate GOP block campaign spending disclosure bill [AP,7/16/12]

Senate Republicans blocked Democratic-backed legislation requiring organizations pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaign ads to disclose their top donors and the amounts they spend. GOP opposition prevented Democrats from getting the 60 votes needed to bring what is known as the Disclose Act to the Senate floor. The vote was 51-44. Democrats revived the act during a presidential election campaign in which political action committees and nonprofit organizations, funded by deep-pocketed and largely anonymous contributors, are dominating the airwaves with largely negative political ads.

* Senate Republicans block campaign disclosure bill [Reuters,7/16/12]

* Senate Republicans Block Campaign Donor Disclosure Bill [Bloomberg, 7/17/12]

* The Power of Anonymity [NY Times, 7/17/12]

* Senate Democrats Plan ‘Midnight Vigil’ on Campaign Finance Bill [WSJ, 7/16/12]

* Expose the fat cats [Washington Post,7/16/12]

* GOP Kills DISCLOSE Act and Leaves Voters in the Dark [Daily Beast,7/17/12]

* DISCLOSE Campaign Spending Act Blocked By Senate Republicans [Huffington Post, 7/17/12]

* Dems hold ‘midnight vigil’ to protest defeat of DISCLOSE bill – [The Hill, 7/16/12]

*  GOP Unanimously Votes to Block DISCLOSE Act [National Journal, 7/16/12]

* Republicans block bill on transparency [Washington Times, 7/17/12]

* Senate Dems Plan ‘Midnight Vigil’ For Campaign Finance Bill [BuzzFeed, 7/16/12]

* GOP blocks political-ad disclosure bill [Boston Globe,7/16/12]

* GOP Senators block Disclose Act political donation transparency [The Examiner, 7/17/12]

* GOP Senators block Disclose Act political donation transparency [Reid.senate.gov, 9/11/14]

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Fred W. Ross, Civil Rights Activist

08/21/2014
April 1968 - Civil Rights Activist Fred-Ross speaks at a United Farm Workers meeting

April 1968 – Civil Rights Activist Fred-Ross speaks at a United Farm Workers meeting

HONORING FRED ROSS SR.: WITH CESAR CHAVEZ, HE FORMED THE UFW

June 17, 2014 By Peter Dreier and Manuel Pastor – San Jose Mercury News

The California Hall of Fame honors trailblazers who embody the Golden State’s innovative spirit. Previous inductees include Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, Barbra Streisand and Magic Johnson.

This year’s list included a much less familiar name: Fred Ross Sr.

Ross (1910-1992) had an enormous impact on reshaping California from the bottom up. He was a community organizer in San Jose when he became the lesser known partner, with Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, in building the United Farm Workers union. Chavez called Ross his hero.

Born in San Francisco and raised in Los Angeles, Ross attended the University of Southern California intending to become a teacher. Instead, the upheavals of the Depression led him to seek more direct ways to challenge injustice.

He organized Dust Bowlers and migrant farmworkers, and eventually became manager of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Arvin Migratory Labor Camp — the same camp John Steinbeck visited to write “The Grapes of Wrath.”

The only manager of California’s 29 camps who challenged the practice of racial segregation of whites and Mexicans, Ross later went on to work with the War Relocation Authority to help thousands of imprisoned Japanese-Americans get jobs and housing.

After the war, Ross spearheaded Civic Unity Leagues in California’s conservative Citrus Belt, bringing Mexican- and black Americans together to battle segregation. In Orange County, parents organized by Ross won a landmark lawsuit (Mendez v. Westminster School District) that paved the way for the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision in 1954.

In the late 1940s, Ross began working in California’s Latino barrios to build chapters of the Community Service Organization, an influential civil rights group that challenged police brutality, fought discrimination and expanded political participation.

In 1952, while Ross was building the San Jose CSO chapter, a nurse told him about a young Navy veteran named Cesar Chavez.

A resident of the neighborhood then known as Sal Si Puedes (now Mayfair), Chavez at first avoided Ross, thinking he was just a white sociologist curious about barrio dwellers’ exotic habits. But he finally agreed to meet with Ross, and Chavez recalled that “as time went on, Fred became sort of my hero. I saw him organize and I wanted to learn.”

So Ross trained Chavez (who became CSO’s statewide director) as well as a young teacher named Dolores Huerta, and Gilbert Padilla, a spotter in a dry cleaning establishment. In the 1960s, this trio joined forces to build the United Farm Workers union, as depicted in the recent Hollywood film “Cesar Chavez,” with Ross played by Mark Moses.

In his 15 years with the UFW, Ross trained 2,000 organizers who led strikes and consumer boycotts leading to the 1975 California Agricultural Labor Relations Act.

In the 1980s, Ross joined his son, Fred Ross Jr., at Neighbor to Neighbor to train local organizers to challenge U.S. policy in Central America.

Ross Sr. once said, “A good organizer is a social arsonist — one who goes around setting people on fire.” He listened to people and helped them channel their anger into the building of powerful and constructive grass-roots organizations.

For more: http://www.californiamuseum.org/museum-news/honoring-fred-ross-sr-cesar-chavez-he-formed-ufw

US Govt & Indigenous Peoples Timeline 1819-2014 )(ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1863-1963 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1964-2009 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

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~ Sign the petition for a Presidential Medal of Freedom for Fred Ross, Sr.  ~

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Women’s Equality Day 2014 – 19th Amendment

08/17/2014

The  Nineteenth Amendment (Amendment XIX) to the United States Constitution prohibits each state and the federal government from denying any citizen the right to vote based on that citizen’s sex. It was ratified on August 18, 1920.

” The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

The National Association of Women Business Owners

Founded in 1975, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is the unified voice of America’s more than 10 million women-owned businesses representing the fastest growing segment of the economy.

NAWBO is the only dues-based organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs across all industries; and boasts over 5000 members and 60 chapters across the country. With far-reaching clout and impact, NAWBO is a one-stop resource to propelling women business owners into greater economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide.

The organization prides itself on being a global beacon for influence, ingenuity and action and is uniquely positioned to provide incisive commentary on issues of importance to women business owners. Everything NAWBO undertakes leverages the unique attributes that women business owners bring to the table and is designed to illuminate, transform – and ultimately harness – the nation’s wide-ranging community of entrepreneurial women into an ever-more-influential voice and increasingly dynamic leadership roles.

For more: http://www.nawbo.org/section_2.cfm

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WH COUNCIL ON WOMEN AND GIRLS

* Blog
White House Support
Resources
Data & Fact Sheets

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cwg .

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US Women’s Rights Movement Timeline 1848 – 2009 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)


Voting Rights Act of 1965 – Now Weaker due to Supreme Court 2013 Ruling

08/07/2014

Bruised and weary, the Voting Rights Act celebrates its 49th birthday

Forty-nine years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, taking an enormous step toward protecting the right to vote for all Americans.Decades of concerted effort on the part of state and local officials to disenfranchise African Americans through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and sheer intimidation had inspired little action from Congress.

But the momentum created by the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the horrified reaction to violence inflicted upon voting-rights protesters marching from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in March 1965, drove federal legislators to craft a response.

The resulting legislation, signed into law at the Capitol with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and other civil-rights leaders looking on, has stood firmly for nearly half a century.

Among other measures, the VRA outlawed literacy tests and empowered the U.S. Department of Justice to challenge the use of poll taxes in state and local elections. Passage of the 24th Amendment in 1964 already barred the use of poll taxes in national elections.

Section 2 is largely a restatement of the 15th Amendment, prohibiting any voting rules or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race or color. Amendments to the VRA in 1975 extended its protections to members of a language minority group, such as speakers of Spanish or Native American languages.

Moreover, thanks to another round of amendments in 1982, citizens today who challenge voting regulations under Section 2 need only prove that, in the “totality of the circumstance of the local electoral process,” the rules have merely the effect of abridging the right to vote.

In crafting the original VRA, Congress also provided for special intervention in jurisdictions where racial discrimination is believed to be greatest. Under Section 5, those parts of the country identified by a formula established in Section 4 must obtain “pre-clearance” from the DOJ or the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia before making any changes to its voting laws.

In Shelby County v. Holder (2013), however, the Supreme Court struck down the Section 4 formula, leaving Section 5 intact but requiring legislators to redraw its coverage before further enforcement. Since the ruling, several amendments have been proposed but Congress has thus far declined to act.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/bruised-weary-voting-rights-act-celebrates-49th-birthday-094610138.html;_ylt=AwrTWfylBORThjUAvXfQtDMD

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Supreme Court’s ruling on Shelby County v. Holder (2013) made the Voters Rights WEAKER

2014 Ballots has 50 Restrictive Voter Rights Bills

11 States have introduced voter ID legislation since Supreme Court ruling for  Shelby County v. Holder in 2013


2014 NC Voter Suppression Laws2014 OH & WI Restrictive Voter Laws

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Where Tuesday’s Voting Rights Act ruling matters, in one map

June 25, 2013 at 11:37 By Dylan Matthews – washingtonpost

Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which outlines how the government is to determine which states, counties, towns, and other jurisdictions have to have their voting laws “precleared” by the Justice Department, is unconstitutional. But which jurisdictions currently face preclearance, and, barring Congressional action, are now freed from that requirement?

6:25:13 Supreme Court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional

For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/25/where-tuesdays-voting-rights-act-ruling-matters-in-one-map/

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Holder to black leaders: ‘Sacred’ right to vote under attack

5/30/12 11:28 AM EDT By JOSEPH WILLIAMS – POLITICO

Attorney General Eric Holder told a council of African American church leaders Wednesday that the “sacred” right to vote is under assault nationwide, with federal lawsuits and at least a dozen state laws that could weaken — or block — minority access to the ballot box this fall.

Forty-seven years after President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, “overt and subtle forms of discrimination still exists,” Holder said in a speech before the Council of Black Churches. The twin factors of lingering bias and systematic assaults from the right, he said, means that “for the first time in our [lifetimes], we are failing to live up to one of our most noble ideals” – the right to equal access to the vote.

The brief speech was a call to arms for the black church, which since the days of the civil rights movement has been active in fighting for equal voting right for minorities. Holder, who was warmly received by the audience, told them his office is “aggressively” taking on the task of protecting that right, including challenging several state lawsuits that would overturn key provisions of the Voting Rights Act involving redistricting in Southern states and strict new voter I’d laws that could keep minorities, the elderly and young people of all races from casting ballots in the 2012 election – which analysts expect will be decided by a narrow margin.

Ensuring that everyone who is qualified can vote “is one of our highest priorities,” Holder told the council, adding that during his watch the Justice Department has taken on more than 100 cases involving voting within the past year, “a record number.” Since President Bush re-authorized the Section 5 provision of the Voting Rights Act, which requires some Southern states to get federal approval before making broad changes to laws involving voting, “it has consistently come under attack by those who say it is no longer needed.”

Holder also rejected conservatives’ contention that making it easier to vote invites fraud, a key argument in calling for tougher voter I’d laws. Recalling that protesters and faith leaders faced violence and death to gain that right during the 1960s civil rights movement, Holder called on black churches to mobilize as an ally of the Justice Department, informing the larger community and pushing back against restrictive proposals.

“We have to honor the generations that took extraordinary risks” to guarantee equal access to the polls, Holder said. The nation has made tremendous progress, he added, but “this fight must go on.”

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Tribal leaders welcome Holder’s voting access plan

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 15:28 by RACHEL D’ORO, Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday his office will consult with tribes across the country to develop ways to increase voting access for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Holder said the goal is to require state and local election officials to place at least one polling site in a location chosen by tribal governments in parts of the nation that include tribal lands. Barriers to voting, he said, include English-only ballots and inaccessible polling places.

In Alaska, for example, the village of Kasigluk is separated into two parts by a river with no bridge. On election day, people on one side have just a few hours to vote before a ballot machine is taken by boat to the other side. Several other Alaska villages have been designated as permanent absentee voting areas, which is something allowed by regulation, according to Gail Fenumiai, director of the state Division of Elections.

In Montana, a voting rights lawsuit is pending from tribal members on the Crow, Northern Cheyenne and Fort Belknap reservations. They want county officials to set up satellite voting offices to make up for the long distances they must travel to reach courthouses for early voting or late registration.

“These conditions are not only unacceptable, they’re outrageous,” Holder said. “As a nation, we cannot — and we will not — simply stand by as the voices of Native Americans are shut out of the democratic process.”

After consulting with tribal leaders, his office will seek to work with Congress on a potential legislative proposal, Holder said.

For more: http://www.nativetimes.com/index.php/news/politics/10019-tribal-leaders-welcome-holder-s-voting-access-plan


The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C.§§19731973aa-6) is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.

Echoing the language of the 15th Amendment, the Act prohibits states from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”Specifically Congress intended the Act to outlaw the practice of requiring otherwise qualified voters to pass literacy tests in order to register to vote, a principal means by which Southern states had prevented African-Americans from exercising the franchise. The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, who had earlier signed the landmark; Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.

Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act

History of Federal Voting Rights Laws

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“The 1965 Voting Rights Act, one of the most historic and groundbreaking pieces of legislation in our nation’s history. For those who marched bravely; who worked tirelessly; who shed their blood and gave their lives in the pursuit of freedom for every American, the Act served as the culmination of decades of work to fulfill America’s promise. And for the members of the Moses Generation – including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, who stood alongside President Johnson when he signed the bill into law – it was an affirmation that although the arc of the moral universe may be long, it bends toward justice.

The Voting Rights Act guaranteed African Americans the right to vote at a time when thousands were being disenfranchised across the country. It extended the protection of our Constitution to every citizen regardless of race or religion; color or creed. And in the 45 years since it was passed, the Act has been reaffirmed four times – each one a reminder that we must remain vigilant in guaranteeing access to the ballot box.

As we pause to reflect on the anniversary of that historic moment, I encourage every American to honor the legacy of the brave men and women who came before us – from the foot soldiers to the Freedom Riders – by exercising the rights they fought so hard to guarantee. And together let us recommit ourselves, in ways large and small, to continuing their journey to promote equality and perfect our union.”‘

President Barack Obama – August 06, 2010

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US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1863-1963 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1964-2009 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)


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