Voter Suppression Facts

In 1877, after Reconstruction, legislators across the old Confederacy initiated a sweeping system of laws, known as Jim Crow, that made it virtually impossible for Black people to vote. From 1888 to 1968, not a single Black person was elected to the Florida legislature. The state’s constitution imposed an additional stricture: felons were banned for life from voting.

The ban survived the dismantling of Jim Crow, in the nineteen-sixties and seventies. While many states imposed waiting periods and other restrictions on felons voting, Florida, along with a few other states, maintained a lifetime ban. Black people are arrested at disproportionate rates for felonies, especially drug-related ones; as recently as 2016, the ban disenfranchised one out of every five Black adults in the state.

Read the full article HERE ... there's much, much more to this.

“All In: The Fight for Democracy” – a new documentary about voter suppression, featuring 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams – will premiere in theaters and on Amazon Prime next month. We were thrilled to have the chance to have a conversation with the documentary’s directors, award-winning filmmakers Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés, about the making of the film, the inspiration behind it and the urgent need for each and every one of us to make our voices heard in the November elections. Below is the first part of that conversation You can learn more about “All In” and read the full interview here.

 

First of all, thank you for making this important film. What drew you to this project and how did it come together, with the two of you co-directing?

Liz: Thank you! The project started when I met Stacey Abrams in the summer of 2019. She came to New York to meet different filmmakers to explore making a film about voting rights and its tortured and tumultuous history. It was a bit of kismet, because I had wanted to make a film about the franchise after the 2016 election but didn’t have the “hook.” Stacey’s gubernatorial race of 2018 was that hook. It was the small story that could tell the big one.

When Stacey chose Story Syndicate for the film, I quickly reached out to Lisa Cortés, a filmmaker I knew through her work on “The Apollo” and deeply respected. We had a year to make a film – so we quickly got to work, dividing and conquering.

 

The film is about the past, but it’s also about the present. Having recounted the history of voter suppression efforts since the era of the Black codes that followed Reconstruction, what parallels do you draw with what is happening across America today?

Liz: William Faulkner wrote, “The past isn’t dead. It’s not even past.” We see that so clearly when we look at the history of the struggle for voting rights. At every turn, when progress is made, there is a retrenchment – new laws or tactics to limit the franchise. Tactics that were used back in the Jim Crow era – billy clubs, police violence, lynchings – to intimidate and suppress the Black vote may not be apparent [today], but laws are passed that have the same effect.

After Reconstruction, with a great expansion of the franchise to the newly freed slaves, Black officials started being elected to state and federal offices. This led to the Black codes – laws that criminalized normal behavior and the state of poverty – which, of course, affected Black Americans who had been enslaved and had not participated financially in the fruits of their labor.  So, for example, “loitering,” which might mean standing on a street corner looking for work, was a charge, and that could cause you to lose your right to vote.

After the Voting Rights Act, we saw another great expansion of the franchise, with a similar retrenchment after the Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013. And what we see today: voter ID laws with a narrow set of eligible IDs (for instance, in Texas, your gun license is a permitted ID but not your student ID), poll closures, purges – along with recent threats by President Trump to have a police presence at polls. These are current tactics to suppress the vote. And no surprise, they disproportionately affect Black, brown, poor, Indigenous, Latinx and young voters.

Georgia likely removed nearly 200k from voter rolls wrongfully, report says

(CNN) — The state of Georgia has likely removed nearly 200,000 Georgia citizens from the voter rolls for wrongfully concluding that those people had moved and not changed the address on their voter registration, when in fact they never moved, according to a new report released on Wednesday. 

 

The ACLU of Georgia released the report which was conducted by the Palast Investigative Fund, a nonpartisan group that focuses on data journalism, on Wednesday. For the report, Palast hired expert firms to conduct an Advanced Address List Hygiene, a method of residential address verification, to review 313,243 names that were removed from the state's voter rolls in late 2019. Their findings claim that 63.3% of voters had not, in fact, moved and were purged in error. 

Reacting to the report, Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia, told CNN, "on the one hand, I was deeply saddened and on the other side, not entirely surprised." Young described the method the state has used to maintain its voting list as "prone to tremendous error" and not on par with the industry standard for residential address verification.

CNN previously reported the Georgia Secretary of State said the removal of the voters is not a "purge" but part of routine maintenance on voting lists that dates back to the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.  In December 2019, the Georgia Secretary of State said they had removed hundreds of thousands of registered voters it classified as "inactive" from its voting rolls as part of a state provision. Under the provision, the state must remove registration records from the voter rolls that have been deemed "inactive" for more than three years. A voter is categorized as "inactive" if they don't vote in two general elections and have had no contact with board of elections in that time, according to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's office.

CNN has reached out to Raffensperger's office for comment.

About 313,000 voters were removed from the list, or about 4% of all registered voters in the state, at that time. The "inactive" voters were marked for removal after failing to respond to a pre-addressed, postage paid confirmation card within 30 days; the card asked voters to confirm or update their information. A prior lawsuit over the 313,000 voters from Fair Fight Action ended up forcing the state to restore 22,000 of the voter registrations until December 2021. 

"The real takeaway from this is the state of Georgia is using a methodology for maintaining its voter rolls that is both more expensive and less accurate than what industry would use to maintain a high-quality mailing list," Young said.

The report outlined three ways the state of Georgia verifies a person's address: a form of the National Change of Address registry of the US Postal Service, returned mail, or failure to vote in two federal election cycles combined with a failure to return a postcard that is used to confirm an address.

An in-depth look at an Ohio IT guy's mission to restore voter rights, includes details of how people end up on purge lists.

A judge ordered an Iowa county to invalidate 50,000 requests for absentee ballots, agreeing with President Donald Trump's campaign that its elections commissioner overstepped his authority by pre-filling them with voters' personal information.

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