Diz Swift and Deborah Malbec
Voter restriction was a key topic at the LWVUS National Convention in Washington. With the 2013 Supreme Court decision that gutted a key section of the Voting Rights Act, many states have passed restrictions on voting that will prevent hundreds of thousands of citizens from voting in the Fall 2016 General Election. Strategies to get out the vote in spite of the restrictions, and many discussions of what to do next, were talked about in groups large and small. Members of our League met with Congress Member Barbara Lee who asked us to write a letter to her office expressing our views on the Voting Rights Act issue. We will work with LWVUS to provide ideas.
A series of excellent speakers reinforced the shift in our democracy seeing lower turnout, lack of engagement – especially of millennials, loss of respect for members of congress (they rank below cockroaches, colonoscopies and root canals, but above the Ebola virus on a recent poll), and a general decay of citizen involvement. Not a cheerful trend, but perhaps a genuine wake up call.
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and American University’s Women & Politics Institute speakers joined NPR’s Power Money, and Influence Correspondent covering campaign finance and lobbying, Peter Overby, and New York Times reporter Amanda Taub, whose writing focuses on political and national identity around the world, the nature and functioning of authoritarian regimes, and women’s rights.
A concurrence vote for a national position on redistricting met with significant debate, but passed on a card vote. The position provides the ten states that do not currently have a redistricting position the ability to lobby for redistricting and oppose gerrymandering.
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