Election Reform

The voting rights movement is winning important victories across the country. Invaluable historical reforms, such as the Voting Rights Act, the 19th Amendment, and the 26th Amendment continue to ensure that many Americans are guaranteed the right to vote. Despite these protections, eligible voters continue to have their vote challenged or taken away. Our government needs to ensure that all elections have verifiable paper trails and that all polling locations are prepared for all eligible voters to cast ballots for the candidates of their choice.

Organize or attend a Voter Assembly in your community on November 7th!

This election is being threatened by unverifiable voting machines, voter ID laws that disenfranchise millions of eligible voters, restrictive election laws for third party candidates and voters who wish to vote early, as well as many other forms of voter suppression that we are likely to witness on November 6 and the weeks leading up to the election.

Sign the Pledge of Action!

Support Fair Elections Now!

From: 
Public Citizen
What's happening: 

We’ve been disappointed to see big banks receive billions in bailout funds, only to turn around and lobby for little to no oversight or accountability for how our taxpayer dollars were to be spent. Busy lobbying, the banks neglected the critical issue at hand: helping homeowners who face foreclosure. We cannot allow campaign cash and lobbying to win favors from Congress. We can't let pay to play politics continue in Washington, D.C. – not with so much at stake.

That's why we're pushing for change through citizen-funded Fair Elections.

The Fair Elections Now Act, sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Reps. John Larsen (D-CT) and Walter Jones (R-NC), presents an exciting new approach to financing campaigns.  This bipartisan bill creates an alternative to big special interest money in politics by allowing congressional candidates to run a viable campaign on public funds and unlimited small contributions from ordinary citizens. 

Passing the Fair Elections Now Act will free Congress from spending time chasing contributions from lobbyists and corporate special interest groups, and will return to focus to solving the critical issues confronting our Nation's problems: the economy, health care, and energy.

Take the Pledge of Action!

From: 
No More Stolen Elections!
What's happening: 

Many say the 2008 election is being stolen right now. If two stolen elections are two too many, are you prepared to accept a third?

IF you haven't already, please read the important call to action from Rev. Jesse Jackson, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Fletcher, Daniel Ellsberg, David Cobb, Frances Moore Lappé, Frances Piven, Holly Near, Jerome Scott, Jim Hightower, John Cavanagh, John Nichols, Manning Marable, Marcus Raskin, Maude Hurd, Medea Benjamin, Mimi Kennedy, Norman Solomon, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Robert McChesney, Starhawk, Tom Hayden, Van Jones, and many more.

DES MOINES, IA: Participatory Democracy Training with Ben Manski

Date: 
January 12, 2012 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm

Location

Des Moines's EAST VILLAGE
501 E. Locust St (corner of E. 5th and E. Locust, 3rd floor).
Des Moines, IA

Learn how to engage the public and gather signatures for a campaign to demand a Constitutional Amendment to end Corporate Personhood, get the money out of our political system, and reverse Citizens United.

Right here, in Iowa… as the movement spreads across America.

January 20, 2012 – Move to Amend Occupies the Courts!

Date: 
January 20, 2012 - 9:00am - 5:00pm

Location

Across the Country

Jan 20, 2012: Occupy the Courts!Call to Action

Inspired by our friends at Occupy Wall Street, and Dr. Cornel West, Move To Amend is planning bold action to mark the second anniversary of the infamous Citizens United v. FEC decision!

Panel Discussion on Constitutional Remedies to Overturn Citizens United

Date: 
January 24, 2012 - 10:00am - 11:30am

Location

106 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC

People For the American Way will be hosting a panel on Capitol Hill THIS TUESDAY (Jan. 24) at 10am with leading members of Congress, state and local lawmakers, and activists on the frontline of our movement to overturn Citizens United v. FEC.

We would be thrilled if you could join us! RSVP to Katie White at kwhite@pfaw.org.

WHAT: Panel Discussion on Constitutional Remedies to Overturn Citizens United
WHEN: January 24th, 2012, 10:00-11:30am EST
WHERE: 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC (map)
WHO:           

Organize a Voter Assembly in your community!

Date: 
November 7, 2012 - 12:00pm - 9:00pm

This election is being threatened by unverifiable voting machines, voter ID laws that disenfranchise millions of eligible voters, restrictive election laws for third party candidates and voters who wish to vote early, as well as many other forms of voter suppression that we are likely to witness on and before November 6.  Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 have taught us that our elections can be stolen if we do not act.

Event Contact
First Name: 
Jolie
Last Name: 
Lizotte
Phone: 
920-312-4246

NYT: Americans in non-swing states less likely to vote and millions of ballots are still being counted

November 12, 2012
By: 
Nate Silver
news photo

Initial accounts of last Tuesday’s presidential election contemplated what seemed to be a significant decline in turnout from 2008. Those reports may have been premature, at least in part. Some states, particularly those where much balloting is conducted by mail, have yet to finish counting their returns. It is likely that there are several million votes left to be counted in California, for example. Nonetheless, it seems probable that we will see something of a split in the number of people who turned out to vote in 2012.

In many of the states where the campaigns focused most of their attention, more people voted than in 2008. Turnout is likely to have declined in many non-battleground states, however.

We CAN do better

November 7, 2012
By: 
No More Stolen Elections
news photo
 
From an election protection stand point, what did we witness yesterday? 
  • We saw the culmination of the most expensive campaign season in U.S. history, with over $5.8 billion spent to influence the electoral process
     

IPS: Abolishing the Electoral College will solve the problem of having "swing" states

November 5, 2012
By: 
Becky Bergdahl
news photo

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 5 2012 (IPS) - A small number of states in the United States have a peculiar power. As swing states, they are extremely influential in the outcome of the presidential election. As presidential candidates focus intensely on these states, some argue that this imbalance and several other factors threaten to undermine the country’s democracy.

Democracy Now talks to civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis about the ongoing struggle for voting rights

October 19, 2012

Originally published on July 10, 2012

Democracy Now and Rep. John Lewis discuss the movemement to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and his experiences as a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Lewis reflects on the restrictive voting laws that target people of color. "It is so important for people to understand, to know that people suffered, struggled," Lewis says. "Some people bled, and some died, for the right to participate. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool that we have in a democratic society. It’s precious. It’s almost sacred. We have to use it. If not, we will lose it."

Democracy Now discusses how the Obama and Romney campaigns control debate questions and exclude third party candidates; Chilean student movement receives award

October 16, 2012

Democracy Now interviews author George Farah and Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald about how the Commission on Presidential Debates restricts the ability of the presidential debates to be fair and open. The broadcast ends with an interview with two of the leaders in the Chilean student movement, which recieved an award for organizing Chile's largest protests for free higher education. (skip past headlines to get to interviews):

 

GUARDIAN: Corporate-sponsored Commission on Presidential Debates places undemocratic restrictions on debates

October 16, 2012
By: 
Glenn Greenwald
news photo

The way the two major parties control the presidential debates is a perfect microcosm of how political debates are restricted in general. Though typically shrouded in secrecy, several facts about this process have recently come to light and they are quite instructive.

NYT: Voting machine industry plays large role in the Election Assistance Commission

October 16, 2012
By: 
Adam Cohen
news photo

The much-delayed work of setting federal standards for electronic voting machines is speeding up, and there is reason for concern. Voting machine companies and their supporters have been given a large say in the process, while advocates for voters, including those who insist on the use of voter-verified paper receipts, have been pushed to the margins. Election officials and machine makers may be betting that after the presidential election, ordinary Americans have lost interest in the mechanics of the ballot. But Americans do care, and it is unlikely that they will be satisfied by a process in which special interests dominate, or by a result that does not ensure vote totals that can be trusted.

BRAD BLOG: Germany's highest court rules electronic voting unconstitutional

October 15, 2012
By: 
Brad Friedman
news photo

Originally published on March 4, 2009

A finding by the "highest court" in Germany has found electronic voting to be unconstitutional...

Germany's highest court has ruled that the use of electronic voting in the last general election was unconstitutional.
..
September's upcoming elections looks set to see a return to the more traditional pencil and paper countrywide.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: Voting technologies require many changes before they can be reliable for voters

October 15, 2012
By: 
Ted Selker
news photo

Originally published in October 2004

The attached PDF is an article about the complexities of voting and the potential for electronic fraud in voting technologies.

 

NEWSWEEK: Serious doubts remain about the 2000 Florida recount's legitimacy

May 13, 2012
By: 
Michael Isikoff
news photo

(originally published on November 18th, 2001)

After spending nearly $1 million, a consortium of big news organizations last week rendered what it once thought would be final word on last year's bitterly contested Florida recount.

The decision: a split verdict.

BRAD BLOG: Columbia County, NY uses system of hand-counted paper ballots to verify their votes

March 28, 2012
By: 
Brad Friedman
news photo

This is really great. But the subsequent information I've received from the Columbia County, NY commissioners in reply to my query is even better!

For a start, here's the key parts of the story from Debora Gilbert at The Columbia Paper near Albany, New York.

Note, in particular, how both the Republican and Democratic commissioners concur on what should not be a partisan issue. They are doing a great service to their voters. Read the story and then I'll share the even better news with you below that...

Hostile Takeover: Turning MI Cities Over to "Managers" Who Can Sell Off City Hall, Break Union Contracts, Privatize Services—and Even Fire Elected Officials

February 15, 2012
By: 
Paul Abowd

 

When the city of Pontiac, Michigan, shut down its fire department last Christmas Eve, city councilman Kermit Williams learned about it in the morning paper. "Nobody reports to me anymore," Williams says. "It just gets reported in the press." This was just the latest in a series of radical changes in the city, where elected officials such as Williams have been replaced by a single person with unprecedented control over the city's operation and budget.

GOP Redistricting Designed to Force Out a Top Progressive Congressmember

February 7, 2012
By: 
Sarah Jaffe

Two progressive champions are facing off for one seat in Congress. What's a voter to do?

Scott Walker and the Secret "John Doe" Investigation Explained

February 7, 2012
By: 
Andy Kroll

 

A dark cloud hangs over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

A "John Doe" investigation launched in May 2010 has embroiled former Walker staffers and appointees from his time as Milwaukee County executive, his job before winning the governorship in November 2010. The investigation, led by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, has led to home raids targeting former staffers with close ties to Walker and numerous felony charges for election law violations,embezzlement, and misconduct in office. 

CNN: Why vote on Tuesdays? No good reason

January 3, 2012
By: 
Jacob Soboroff

Today, Iowans will kick off the Republican nominating process for president of the United States with the first-in-the-nation caucuses. But why a Tuesday?

The short answer: We vote on Tuesday for absolutely no good reason. This is true especially when you consider the United States, arguably the world's most famous democracy, has ranked near the bottom of all nations in voter participation for more than half a century. And that's not because, as Mitt Romney suggested to me last month, we need great candidates to increase voter turnout. Heard of JFK? Reagan?

CAP TIMES: Integrity of Wisconsin's elections further in dobut as GAB comes under partisan control

December 6, 2011
By: 
Protect independence of our election watchdog

One of the best ways of ensuring the integrity of our elections is to have an independent, nonpartisan watchdog. Wisconsin already has that, in the form of the Government Accountability Board. The GAB is made up of retired judges and a nonpartisan staff charged with keeping elections clean. But now the independence of the GAB is under threat.

YES!: New Oregon process empowers citizens during ballot referendums

November 4, 2011
By: 
Tyrone Reitman

Daily, it seems, we watch as our democracy slips into an increasingly divisive panic attack. Republicans, we’re told, hate Democrats. Democrats, we’re told, hate Republicans. Accountability in our political system seems as tenuous as the economic recovery: Tea Partier, Wall Street Occupier, or none of the above, we all know something's amiss.

Yet as it is, we have a tradition of successful self-governance more than 230 years in the making. Full of beauty, opportunity, and deep scars, our democracy continues as a grand experiment. Rights have been expanded, greater access to the disenfranchised has been afforded, and our democratic institutions endure.

NEW YORK TIMES: One Person, One Vote for President

June 21, 2010
By: 
Editorial

Nearly 10 years after George W. Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore and became president anyway, the New York State Legislature has a chance to withdraw from the archaic and unfair way this country picks its chief executives.

The State Senate has adopted, by a vote of 52 to 7, a measure requiring the state to assign all of its Electoral College delegates to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. In the Assembly, 79 of 150 members have signed on to the bill, but it remains stuck in committee. The Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, should bring it to the floor this week and press all members to vote for it.

More Info: 

Original article here...

LEWIS: Why Our President Should Be Elected by a National Popular Vote

June 14, 2010
By: 
Jason Lewis

It has been a long time since Massachusetts decided a presidential election. Presidential candidates spend the vast majority of their time and campaign funds on swing states like Ohio and Florida, and the votes of certain Americans are more sought after than others.

More Info: 

Jason Lewis is a Massachussetts state legislator.

Original article here...

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Supreme Court refuses to stop Arizona Clean Elections law

June 2, 2010
By: 
Alia Beard Rau

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a one-sentence denial to an emergency request to halt the matching-funds portion of Arizona's publicly funded Clean Elections program. Within hours, the attorneys representing matching-funds opponents asked the high court to reconsider.

Justice Anthony Kennedy's order left open the door for the attorneys to refile, as long as they also ask the court to hear the case itself. The attorneys had asked only that the court block the disbursal of funds.

"The court appears to want assurance that the injunction would not last forever and that it would have the chance to decide the merits of the case," Goldwater Institute attorney Clint Bolick said.

More Info: 

Original article ...http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2010/06/02/20100602supremeclean0602.html#comments

RECLAIM DEMOCRACY: ACLU shifts stance on campaign spending, needs to go further

April 22, 2010

Since 2003, the organization Reclaim Democracy has pushed the ACLU to rethink its claim that money = speech regarding investments in political campaigns and its position equating corporate communications with free speech, beginning when the ACLU took Nike Corporation's side in the infamous "corporate right to lie" dispute (Nike v Kasky).

More Info: 

Original report from Reclaim Democracy here...

Voter advocacy groups look at how prepared states are to ensure that our votes are counted

October 17, 2012
Pamela Smith, Michelle Mulder, Susannah Goodman

This report reviews how prepared each state is to ensure that every eligible voter can vote, and that every
vote is counted as cast. Because we cannot predict where machines will fail during the upcoming national
election, every state should be as prepared as possible for system failures.

The Verified Voting Foundation, the Rutgers Law School Newark Constitutional Litigation Clinic and
Common Cause surveyed states’ voting equipment and ranked the states according to their preparedness.
The rankings are based on how states laws and practices compare to a set of best practices already being
used in some places.

BRENNAN CENTER: Electronic voting machines record higher rates of residual votes among poor and racial minority populations

October 16, 2012
Lawrence Norden, Jeremy M. Creelan, David Kimball, Whitney Quesenbery

Originally published August 28, 2006

On August 28, 2006, the Brennan Center released a report and policy proposals regarding the performance of various voting systems and their ability to allow voters to cast valid ballots that reflect their intended choices without undue delay or burdens. This system quality is known as usability. Following several high-profile controversies in the last few elections including most notoriously, the 2000 controversy over the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach voting system usability is a subject of utmost concern to voters and election officials.

PEW CENTER: Higher rates of residual votes found in Florida among African-American, Hispanic, and senior voters

October 1, 2010
Paul Gronke, Charles Stewart III, James Hicks

This report describes a project that examined the residual vote rates in the state of Florida’s 2008 presidential preference primary, taking advantage of a state law that, for a time, required all jurisdictions to report over- and under-votes at the precinct level.

John Bonifaz and Laura Flanders on the Corporate Supreme Court

April 15, 2010
John Bonifaz and Laura Flanders

GRIT tv host Laura Flanders takes up the topic of the Supreme Court, corporate power, and the Citizens United ruling. Guest John Bonifaz, the director of Free Speech for People discusses the results we're already seeing from that ruling, how it impacts corporations, unions, and real flesh-and-blood people, (including how it has already impacted our thinking) and what needs to be done. Bonifaz explains how we can amend the Constitution to reclaim our first amendment, and the kind of popular movement that will be required to do it. He describes what people are doing at the local level in their free time to advance this agenda. (Discussion begins at 10:22)

Additional Information: 

Originally posted here by David Swanson of After Downing Street.

FRIEDMAN: Democracy's Gold Standard

September 14, 2009
Brad Friedman

Last March, the country's highest court found that secret, computerized vote counting was unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the country was Germany, and the Constitution violated by e-voting systems was the one that the U.S. wrote and insisted Germans ratify as part of their terms of surrender following WWII.

Paul Lehto, a U.S. election attorney and Constitutional rights expert, summarized the German court's unambiguous, landmark finding:

"No 'specialized technical knowledge' can be required of citizens to vote or to monitor vote counts."
There is a "constitutional requirement of a publicly observed count."

MANSKI: The New U.S. Democracy Movement

October 9, 2008
Ben Manski

Around the world, Americans are often maligned as self-serving, ignorant, and conservative. Yet Americans are generally a progressive people.

Public opinion research tells the story:

  • Most Americans favor creating a federal universal single payer health care system.
  • Most support trade policies based not on property rights, but human rights, environmental protection, and popular sovereignty.
  • Majorities believe that the U.S. should not act as the “world’s police force,” and large majorities support the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
  • Americans, by and large, believe that access to quality education is a basic right, and are willing to raise taxes to pay for it.

Additional Information: 

This article was written for Movement Vision Lab. Click here for the original edition.
~ Ben Manski is a Wisconsin attorney and the executive director of Liberty Tree

Making Voting Work: An Analysis of Military and Overseas Citzen Voting

September 15, 2008

The most recent effort by Making Voting Work looks into perhaps the most tragic of uncounted voting demographics--troops overseas. Many states have offered excuses again and again about not being able to make the absentee ballot process work for due to failures in the military postal system. The most recent report of Military Overseas Voting Project.

The 2006 Mid-term Elections: Change or Continuity?

December 4, 2006
Patrick Barrett

Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution

ACS Paper: Preserving and Expanding the Right to Vote: Ranked-choice Voting

December 3, 2006
David Cobb, Patrick Barrett and Caleb Kleppner

In this American Constitution Society white paper, Liberty Tree Fellows Patrick Barrett and David Cobb join Caleb Kleppner of Election Solutions in making the case for ranked-choice voting.

Summary:

The most widely used voting system in the Unites States, plurality voting, allows for a candidate that the majority opposes to be elected. While perhaps the most notable example of this occurred in the Florida presidential election in 2000, this situation happens not only on the federal level but in state and local elections as well.

Additional Information: 

The Barrett, Cobb, Kleppner ACS white paper is located on the American Constitution Society website here.

Z Magazine interviews Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap about Measure T

December 2, 2006

Last June voters in Northern California’s Humboldt County approved a ballot initiative that banned non-local corporate money in elections. The referendum, dubbed Measure T, also rejected corporate personhood, the legal doctrine that grants corporations the same rights and protections as persons. Measure T’s passage represents the most explicit challenge to corporate “rights” and political power in the country at this time.

David Cobb: 'The New Voting Rights Movement' and 'Fighting The Corporate Takeover'

January 3, 2005
David Cobb

The Brad Blog at www.bradblog.com

INTRODUCTION {by Winter Patriot}: We are thrilled to announce that David Cobb will be with us for some live blogging on Saturday morning [late Saturday morning in the East, early Saturday morning in the West]. As most of you probably know, Mr. Cobb represented the Green Party in the 2004 Presidential 'Election'. He has indicated that he wishes to blog about two subjects, and he has sent us some very interesting links and text. So there's plenty to absorb before Mr. Cobb takes the hot seat as the first live blogger of the weekend.

Mr. Cobb's first subject:

Additional Information: 

To read the archive of the full blog post, visit http://www.bradblog.com/archives/00001550.htm

Voter Bill of Rights

September 26, 2009

From unreliable electronic voting machines and millions of uncounted ballots, to partisan election officials and 10-hour waits at the polls, it is clear that our electoral system is in dire need of an overhaul. To build a more just, secure, and robust democracy, please support the following 10-point Voter Bill of Rights:

1. Pass a Constitutional Amendment Confirming the Right to Vote

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