Hello to our ever growing cast of characters!
Huge voting developments, both here in MA and nationwide.
- AVR in MA: Galvin's Complication
- We Persisted - and We're Persisting
- What We Need From You Now:
- AVR Lobby Day - Critical Districts Lobbyists
- Have you Had a Postcard Party?
- #AVRinMA Twitter Storm on 1/31
- National Voting Highlights, Great...and Terrible.
- AVR in MA: Mr. Galvin's Complication
Secretary of State Galvin has proposed Election Day Registration legislation. Way to go, right? Well... A while back, when Galvin wouldn't adopt EDR, he was sued by the ACLU, lost, and appealed. Now, we're weeks away from this decision, which likely affirm the lower court, mandating EDR judicially. We're also a week before AVR Lobby Day, which by the way has quite the buzz. AVR will take work to implement; EDR, almost none. Galvin's rationale is, do it instead, b/c EDR could be implemented for the 2018 election, AVR not till 2020.
...except that Galvin's proposal wouldn't take effect until 2019, and...
...except that none of the EDR bills already there has more than 12 cosponsors, which for this session means, no go...
...except that it's not a case of EDR this year, AVR next. If we fail to pass AVR this year, it will very likely take another 8 or 10 years to get another chance.
...except that the proposal wouldn't apply to early voting. So EDR, only on election day, and it would actually SHORTEN the last day of registration from 8 pm to 5 pm. Well: Election Protection cites as #1 impediment to voting: confusion. Do we think people who try same day registration during early voting will then return to try again?
In sum, EDR registers the voters who show up on Election Day, with the right documents, and discourages early voting. AVR registers EVERYBODY WHO IS ELIGIBLE, in advance of election day. Both take effect for the 2020 election.
Mr. Galvin, whom I've spoken to on two occasions, seems really decent. Because he's got a challenger, I hope he gets on board, and puts AVR to rest as an election issue. Hell hath no fury like a posse of voting activists, scorned.
We Persisted - and We're Persisting
Last fall, Lift+Every+Vote members helped persuade four Reps to get on board with AVR. Just in January, we got SIX. AVR now has 84 House cosponsors. We ROCK - but, we can rock more. HERE's the list of those Democratic House Reps we still need.
What We Need From You Now:
1. We Need Critical-District Lobbyists!
Do you live here or know anyone who does?
If so, would you mind dropping everything?
David Nangle - Lowell (Our home page has the district maps.)
Joe Wagner - Chicopee
Gerald Cassidy - Brockton
Claire Cronin - Plymouth, Brockton, Easton
Mark Cusack - Braintree, Holbrook, Randolph
Bill Driscoll - Milton, Randolph
Michael Finn - Springfield, Chicopee
Carole Fiola - Fall River, Bristol
Coleen Garry - Dracut, Tyningsboro
Danielle Grégoire - Marlborough, Northborough
Kate Hogan - Stow
John Lawn - Watertown
Gerald Parisella - Beverly
William Strauss - Mattapoiset
2. We Need a Veritable Flood of Postcards
And they're 50% off, comrades!
Let's nudge the 40 Democratic House Reps who aren't yet co-sponsoring AVR, towards their destiny! Ask them to sign on to cosponsor S.373. Just fill in the Rep's name, the room #, and a write a short message. MORE INFO.
3. We need a Big-A$& Twitter Storm on Wednesday!
for the democratically inclined youth in your life
Let's TREND on Wednesday! Tweet & retweet #AVRinMA and MApoli.
Click here for what to say, and to whom.
Voting Highlights, Great...
Floridians for a Fair Democracy (Second Chances Coalition) collected 1 MILLION verified signatures, and got re-enfranchisement on the November ballot. If it passes, the 1.5M people who are now PERMANENTLY disenfranchised, could vote. Fixing Florida, PA, OH and WI are our biggest voting-activism bangs for the buck. So if you have any to spare, give them money.
Illinois became the fourth state to leave CrossCheck, the inter-state deduplicator program designed by Kris Kobach of KS, that leaves voter data laughably exposed and has a 300:1 false positive rate. Helped by the research of our friend Anita Parsa over at Leave CrossCheck, who filed a bunch of pro-bono FOIA requests, Indivisible Chicago made a ruckus and Illinois legislators came to the obvious conclusion. (BTW, our single most important races this November are to defeat anti-voting Secretaries of State and help elect PRO AVR ones. Seriously - these people decide whether all other elections will be FAIR so we need to put these races FIRST.
Are we coming to gerrymandering's day of reckoning? In two big cases, (NC and PA), judges declared the state's partisan gerrymandering to be unconstitutional. Craftily, the PA case was based only on its STATE constitution, and though it's been appealed, SCOTUS has never intervened in a State supreme court's ruling an issue of State Constitution constitutionality. The NH decision's STRONG - all districts ruled unconstitutional on 4 different grounds, 3 of which were unanimous. This one though, based on federal constitutionality, was appealed and our fine crusty gentlemen at SCOTUS stayed it. That means it can't take effect for 2018. In both NH and PA, the GOP gets about 50% of the vote, but routinely comes away with 2/3rds or more of the Congressional seats.
The Virginia General Assembly, after the chaos of 2017, is looking to overhaul its election laws.
The Republican-led Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill to end special elections for the U.S. Senate there.
After the heads of Wisconsin's Ethics and Elections Commissions complained about the State Senate not confirming staff, they were fired by Scott Walker.
Trump's nominee for Census chief is a blatant supporter of gerrymandering, and wrote a book whose subtitle is "why competitive elections are bad for democracy."
Bottom line: voting systems, like other critical infrastructure, need regular maintenance or they deteriorate. Thankfully, pretty much everyone reading this has figured that out. Our next newsletter will give you a roadmap of 15 pieces of voting work you can - and must - do this year.