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Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2021 05:39 pm
Beto O'Rourke, Jaime Harrison encourage Manchin voting rights compromise.


Published June 20, 2021

Quote:
Former Texas congressman-turned-voting rights advocate Beto O’Rourke and Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison on Friday backed Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) proposed compromise on voting rights, though O'Rourke clarified his remarks Sunday.

O’Rourke, who founded Powered by People, an organization registering voters in Texas, called Manchin’s proposal “progress” in an interview on CNN Friday and called on Texans to rally with him Sunday to push to "get this passed."

“I am so grateful for what Sen. Manchin has done and what he's doing right now,” O’Rourke said. “He's trying to find a way to protect voting rights in this country at a moment that they are under attack in more than 40 states.”

O'Rourke clarified his stance on Manchin's proposal Sunday in an interview with POLITICO, calling it a "good start" but arguing that it doesn't go far enough.

"I'm hopeful that as he continues to talk with and listen to, both his colleagues in the Senate and his constituents in West Virginia, where the provisions in the For the People Act are very popular, that he will get closer to the version passed out of the House," O'Rourke said. "There's still a lot that's missing from this compromise."

Harrison called Manchin's proposal a "step forward" for voting rights in an interview of his own on MSNBC Friday.

“You have to see the progress,” Harrison said. “Many of us thought he was a ‘no,’ not only a ‘no,’ but a ‘hell, no,’ but it seems like he has softened his stance and he is willing to work to find some common ground to move forward.”

O’Rourke and Harrison’s support comes after Stacey Abrams, one of the country’s most prominent voting rights activists, backed Manchin's compromise on the For the People Act on Thursday. A red-state moderate, Manchin had come out against his party's sweeping election reform bill earlier this month in a blow to Democrats’ top legislative priority, but put forward a compromise Wednesday.

Despite its growing support from fellow Democrats, Manchin's proposal has failed to shift the congressional landscape of the voting rights debate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week that all Senate Republicans would vote against Manchin's compromise.

Manchin's proposal includes the sweeping elections bill's expanded early voting and prohibition of partisan gerrymandering, but also includes some provisions that cut against his party's priorities, such as voter ID and making it easier for state officials to take voters off voter rolls. Manchin also backed automatic registration at the DMV and making Election Day a holiday.

O'Rourke said he was happy to see Manchin back the gerrymandering, early voting and Election Day holiday proposals, among other things.


https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/beto-o-rourke-jaime-harrison-encourage-manchin-voting-rights-compromise/ar-AALbOrH?ocid=uxbndlbing
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Reply Fri 25 Jun, 2021 10:59 pm
DOJ Lodges Official Complaint Against State of Georgia.

U.S. Attorney General Merrik Garland makes the announcement that the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia over its election law reform.

“The rights of all eligible citizens to vote are at the pillars of our democracy,” Garland speaks at the Department of Justice. “They are the rights from which all other rights ultimately flow. Two weeks ago I spoke about our country’s history of expanding the right to vote. I noted that our progress of protecting voting rights, especially for Black Americans and people of color, has never been steady.”

The dramatic rise in state legislation can make it harder for “millions of Americans” to cast their votes, Garland continues. A formal complaint has now been filed against the state of Georgia for its passing of SB 202.


Published June 25, 2021


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Reply Fri 25 Jun, 2021 11:06 pm
‘DC Today’ Panel Reacts to DOJ Suing Georgia Over Voting Restrictions.

The Justice Department is suing the state of Georgia over new voting laws enacted as Republican leaders try to limit voting access nationwide. This comes after President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss. With Trump’s repeated claims of voting fraud, the GOP believes harsher restrictions will boost election confidence.

The state law gives officials the power to take over local election boards, limits ballot drop boxes, imposes new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots. In addition, the law makes it a crime for individuals to give food or water to voters standing in long lines.

Many people say the new laws are akin to Jim Crow-era policies and are a form of voter suppression. BNC correspondent Bifta Yimam, Howard political science professor Niambi Carter, Ph.D., and Democratic strategist Keith Lamar join “DC Today” host Del Walters to discuss the controversy.


Published June 25, 2021


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Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2021 09:55 pm
Progressive groups unite to oppose Texas GOP's voting restrictions.


Published June 28, 2021

Quote:
More than two dozen progressive groups have united against Texas Republicans' renewed efforts to pass a restrictive voting bill, forming a new coalition days before a special session of the state Legislature is scheduled to begin.

Texas for All, as the coalition is known, launched Monday with 35 national and Texas-based groups on board that traditionally focus on issues including civil liberties, immigration, child welfare, the environment and abortion rights. Organizers told NBC News that more groups may join.

“This is a fight that has been shaping up for over a decade. We’ve seen how state leadership has decimated our communities. When you look at the grid, we survived a pandemic,” Sissi Yado, who is steering the coalition, said, referring to Texas' isolated power grid and the deadly crisis that ensued when it was crippled by a February storm. “We know we need to be in lockstep as we face another special session.”

In a letter to supporters released Monday, the member groups said they came together because they believe Republican lawmakers are pushing what would be one of the nation's strictest voting laws in order "to preserve the entrenched political leadership of Texas by insulating themselves from the will of the people at the ballot box."

"Texas' statewide leaders and legislative majority prove time and again how all of our rights are undermined by their voter suppression efforts," the coalition wrote.

Five groups at the core of the coalition have worked together in the past: Texas Freedom Network, Workers Defense Action Fund, Texas Organizing Project, Texas Civil Rights Project and Planned Parenthood Texas Votes. The Texas Democratic Party, Texas AFL-CIO, Sierra Club, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, and Black Voters Matter Fund are also taking part.

The hope is to mobilize a combined membership base of millions for the special session of the Texas Legislature that begins on July 8, where GOP-backed voting legislation is expected to come up. The coalition anticipates spending seven figures on digital ads and other lobbying efforts against proposed election limits throughout the session, according to a person familiar with the coalition's plans who wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the effort.

The voting rights fight will be Texas for All's first as a group, but expect it to work together as a unit at least through the 2022 midterms, this person said.

“The central tenet of organizing is our power is in numbers,” said Brianna Brown, deputy director of the Texas Organizing Project. “There’s strength in numbers.”

Members of Texas for All said it represented an usually large coalition, in part because protecting voting access is key to their respective agendas.

“Voting rights is an incredible unifier because it affects all of our communities, it affects representation at its core and our fundamental way to hold our electeds accountable,” Texas Freedom Network Executive Director Val Benavidez said.

Texas is one of dozens of states that considered or passed voting restrictions this year as former President Donald Trump continues to promote the lie that a second term was stolen from him through widespread voter fraud that his legal team could not prove in court. There is no evidence of such fraud or irregularities in the 2020 election, won by President Joe Biden, and the highly-scrutinized results have been certified accurate. Trump won the state of Texas.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, a Trump ally, made voting legislation a priority, and state Republicans ultimately advanced a sweeping bill known as S.B. 7 that would ban drive-thru voting, limit voting hours, make it more difficult to cast mail ballots and empower partisan poll watchers. Proponents of the legislation argued it would improve the state's election systems and prevent fraud. Democrats, who are in the minority in both chambers of the Legislature, criticized the proposed legislation as voter suppression. State House Democrats managed to kill the bill at the eleventh hour last month by walking out en masse and denying Republicans a quorum necessary to pass the bill before the regular legislative session ended.

Knowing their victory would be short-lived — Abbott immediately made it clear election legislation would come up in a special session — more than two dozen Texas Democrats went to Washington to lobby senators in favor of the For the People Act, a federal election bill that voting rights advocates have said is the only hope of kneecapping restrictions imposed by Republican-led states. No Republicans support the legislation, and Senate Republicans filibustered debate on an amended version of it last week, putting national Democrats in a predicament about how to move forward on a high-priority issue.

It's unclear whether Texas Republicans will write a different elections bill during the special session or reuse S.B. 7, written during the last session. Democratic lawmakers don’t have the votes to block legislation along party lines, but have vowed to use every tool at their disposal to fight the legislation nonetheless.

Members of the Texas for All coalition say they're determined to support the Democrats opposing voting legislation with a unified message, coordinating their political strategy and communications and orchestrating days of action.

“Some organizations will be able to do advocacy and organizing, some organizations will run voter registration campaigns, some organizations will work on get out the vote work," while some groups will back potential challengers to Republicans in upcoming elections, Benavidez said.

Coalition members said that the legislative process — particularly in a special session — can be hard to follow, and that the coalition will help keep voters apprised of the process.

“Special sessions can be inside baseball and they can be very insular," Brown said. "We want to make sure what’s going on in the state legislature is amplified."

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/progressive-groups-unite-to-oppose-texas-gops-voting-restrictions/ar-AALwIhw?ocid=uxbndlbing
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