As we’ve been sharing with you over the past few weeks, the League is participating in the #GivingTuesday movement. In honor of #GivingTuesday, we’re taking some time to reflect on the work that League leaders have accomplished in communities across the country; so far, we’ve shared snapshots of the work we’ve done to defend the environment, keep big money out of politics and educate and empower voters.
Now, we’re taking a look at our work to protect voters’ rights.
- In January, the League expressed strong disappointment in the President’s lack of immediate action to fix the nation’s flawed voting system. Upon the establishment of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) this summer, LWVUS and Leagues in Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania testified on the need for a free, fair and accessible voting system. Our testimonies upheld the importance of these goals and focused on pro-voter reforms, including expanded early voting, improved polling place management, providing for portable voter registration and establishing secure online voter registration.
- In 2012 and 2013, state Leagues, working in coalition with other advocates, defeated 13 strict voter photo ID bills in Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio and Oregon. Successful court action also blocked strict photo ID laws in Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin. The League of Women Voters of North Carolina filed suit challenging North Carolina’s voter suppression law, considered the most suppressive voting law since the Civil Rights era for its reduction of early voting and elimination of Sunday voting and same-day registration. League advocates across the country also distributed voter education materials and helped voters understand voting requirements and obtain the necessary documentation to cast their ballots.
- Early last summer, LWVUS and the League of Women Voters of Arizona were involved in the critical Supreme Court voting rights case, Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA), which examined whether the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) prevented states from passing laws that restrict the voter registration process. The Supreme Court upheld the NVRA, resulting in a key victory for voters.
- In June, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, resulting in widespread attacks on voting rights across the country. Immediately, the League sprung to action, calling on Congress to repair and restore the Voting Rights Act to its full strength. We commended the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for filing suit against voter suppression laws in both Texas and North Carolina, and we continue to push for Congress to protect our democracy and repair the Voting Rights Act.
- Also, in response to the Supreme Court’s decision, League leaders across the country published op-eds and held community meetings calling for action to thwart restrictions to access to the polls. In August, League members and LWVUS President Elisabeth MacNamara joined thousands of Americans, including key politicians and voting rights advocates, in calling for the need to protect voting rights at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.
Rooted in the movement that secured the right to vote for women, the League has worked to protect voting rights since we were founded in 1920. Over time, our work has evolved from efforts to gain and foster women’s suffrage to ensuring that all eligible voters – particularly those from traditionally underrepresented or underserved communities – have equal access to the polls. We remain committed to pursuing all avenues to protect the right to vote and decisively close the door to voter discrimination.
Taking place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday celebrates and encourages charitable activities to support nonprofit organizations like the League. #GivingTuesday is propelled by those who believe that individual action can make a difference. On December 3rd, we ask that you think of the League as you reflect on the need to prevent voter suppression efforts and protect the voting rights of all eligible voters. Pledge to support the League’s work and we’ll send you a reminder email with an online donation form on December 3.