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    TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — With Florida’s Oct. 5 voter-registration deadline looming, convicted felons and their advocates are scrambling to clear up outstanding court-related debts or take advantage of special programs so that people who have served their time behind bars can cast ballots in this year’s presidential election. The race against the clock intensified after an Atlanta-based appeals court this month upheld a controversial Florida law requiring felons to pay “legal financial obligations” — fees, fines, costs and restitution — associated with their convictions before they can be eligible to vote. The 2019 law was aimed at implementing a constitutional amendment that restored voting rights to felons “upon completion of all terms sentence including parole or probation.” Backers of what appeared as Amendment 4 on the state’s 2018 ballot maintain that it affects more than 1 million Floridians who lost their voting rights after felony convictions and who have completed their...
    GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina law making it a serious crime for convicted felons to vote before their right is restored, even when it's an unintentional mistake, is racially discriminatory and needs to be blocked for the November election, a federal lawsuit says. Two civil rights advocacy groups suing the State Board of Elections and the attorney general contend the 1931 law also is unconstitutionally vague and requires a broad review of state law to determine when an ex-offender is allowed to vote again. Although violations of the law are almost always unintentional, district attorneys in some counties are still prosecuting these residents, the groups' attorneys say. Evidence of someone deliberately trying to break the law isn’t a prerequisite for a conviction, according to the lawsuit filed late Thursday in central North Carolina federal court. “These high-profile criminal cases, as well as the vague wording of the (law),...
    Florida Rights Restoration Coalition's Desmond Meade at the Jan. 20 MLK Parade in St. PetePHOTO VIA FLORIDA RIGHTS RESTORATION COALITION/TWITTERWith Florida’s Oct. 5 voter-registration deadline looming, convicted felons and their advocates are scrambling to clear up outstanding court-related debts or take advantage of special programs so that people who have served their time behind bars can cast ballots in this year’s presidential election. The race against the clock intensified after an Atlanta-based appeals court this month upheld a controversial Florida law requiring felons to pay “legal financial obligations” --- fees, fines, costs and restitution --- associated with their convictions before they can be eligible to vote. The 2019 law was aimed at implementing a constitutional amendment that restored voting rights to felons “upon completion of all terms sentence including parole or probation.” Backers of what appeared as Amendment 4 on the state’s 2018 ballot maintain that it affects more than...
    (CNN)Joanne Bland was an 11-year-old schoolgirl in Selma, Alabama, when she marched into history, joining hundreds of activists on the Edmund Pettus Bridge for a demonstration that turned into one of the bloodiest confrontations of the civil rights movement.More on Voting CNN's Election 101 Voter registration, explained Mail-in vs. absentee voting How to stay safe when voting in person 2020 presidential polls, explained Your questions about voting, answered Baton-wielding state troopers and horse-mounted members of the sheriff's posse, plunged into the peaceful crowd that day in March 1965, breaking bones and cracking skulls. Bland's 14-year-old sister Linda, standing not far behind march leaders John Lewis and Hosea Williams, was struck in the face and the back of the head. "It was horrible," Bland recalls now. "There was this one lady, I don't know if the horse ran over her or if she fell, but all these years later, I...
    (CNN)Not all heroes wear a cape; some wear a robe.When the nation lost Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18, we lost an American heroine whose superpower was harnessing the law to protect millions of women, members of the LGBTQ community, people of color and those with disabilities. Vanita Gupta We are living in a moment of deep uncertainty -- one in which countless people in America know that equal justice is still an aspiration, and it feels like we are regressing as a nation. And for good reason: President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are seemingly committed to rolling back progress on civil rights and blunting the positive change so many Americans seek. And they are doing this in part by reshaping the federal judiciary. Read MoreThe Senate's dereliction of duty to the people in this country is reprehensible. The governing body has failed to hold...
    Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republican, has asked the FBI and the state’s Department of Law Enforcement to investigate former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s efforts to help felons in the state regain their voting rights by paying their court fees, citing “potential violations of election laws.” Bloomberg has over the last week raised more than $16 million from individuals and private organizations, which he said would go towards paying down fines and fees for nearly 32,000 Black and Latinx Florida voters with felony records. A controversial Florida law forbids former felons from voting unless and until they pay off all money they owe the courts or other legal parties. Critics have called it a “modern day poll tax.” Florida attorney general Ashley Moody said in the letter that the office of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis had asked her to look into the issue, CNN reported Wednesday. “After preliminarily reviewing this limited public information and law, it appears further investigation is warranted,” Moody wrote in a letter to the agencies. Bloomberg aides told CNN that the fundraising...
    (CNN)Days after a devastating federal appeals court ruling that struck a major blow to voting rights for Floridians with felony records, Michael Bloomberg and a cadre of celebrities are donating millions to help some potential voters the court deemed ineligible. Florida's attorney general asked the FBI and Florida's Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Bloomberg's efforts to reinstate these voting rights. The ruling this month upheld a new Florida law requiring people with past felony convictions to pay all fines and legal fees before they can vote. These fees can amount to thousands of dollars for a largely indigent population. Amy FettigA lower court ruling previously found the law established an unconstitutional poll tax and unfairly discriminates against low income people who are unable to pay these fees. Hundreds of thousands of people will now be denied the ability to cast a ballot in November. While Bloomberg's actions are...
    Roger Sollenberger September 25, 2020 3:57AM (UTC) Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republican, has asked the FBI and the state's Department of Law Enforcement to investigate former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's efforts to help felons in the state regain their voting rights by paying their court fees, citing "potential violations of election laws." Bloomberg has over the last week raised more than $16 million from individuals and private organizations, which he said would go towards paying down fines and fees for nearly 32,000 Black and Latinx Florida voters with felony records. A controversial Florida law forbids former felons from voting unless and until they pay off all money they owe the courts or other legal parties. Critics have called it a "modern day poll tax." : Florida attorney general Ashley Moody said in the letter that the office of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis had asked her to look into the issue, CNN reported Wednesday. "After preliminarily reviewing this limited public information and law, it appears further investigation is...
    TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis called for investigations Wednesday into former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joining the effort to help Florida felons pay outstanding legal fees so they can register to vote in November. Moody, saying her office was acting at the request of DeSantis, asked the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Bloomberg raising at least $16 million for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, contending it could be a violation of state laws against offering incentives to people or groups in exchange for voting in a particular manner. “After preliminarily reviewing this limited public information and law, it appears further investigation is warranted,” Moody wrote to Michael McPherson, special agent in charge of the Tampa office of the FBI, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Richard Swearingen. “Accordingly, I request...
    Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said Thursday that he offered grants to election officials in nearly 6,000 counties previously covered by the Voting Rights Act. “Today I sent a letter to nearly 6,000 elections officials and county commissioners in states formerly covered by Voting Rights Act Section 5 inviting them to apply for grants, funded by me, to reopen polling centers and improve voting access,” Schwarzenegger tweeted.  Today I sent a letter to nearly 6,000 elections officials and county commissioners in states formerly covered by Voting Rights Act Section 5 inviting them to apply for grants, funded by me, to reopen polling centers and improve voting access.— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) September 23, 2020 He added that the grants, which will be administered through the University of Southern California Schwarzenegger Institute, “are completely non-partisan and will be offered to those who demonstrate the greatest need and ability to close gaps...
    Photo via Desmond Meade/FacebookAfter his bid for a pardon was blocked Wednesday, Florida felons’ voting-rights leader Desmond Meade said the decision made him even more committed to continuing his work. Meade, a former drug dealer who has garnered international accolades after leading the drive to pass a 2018 constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for felons, said he’s been waiting two decades to have his civil rights, which include the right to sit on juries and run for public office, restored. “If a person with my record would have to wait, what does that say for everyone else?” said Meade, who has been able to register to vote thanks to the constitutional amendment, known as Amendment 4. “So my resolve is strengthened.” Meade, who’s been clean and crime-free for more than a decade, appeared Wednesday before the state Board of Executive Clemency --- comprised of Gov. Ron DeSantis and the...
    PHOTO VIA MIKE BLOOMBERG/FACEBOOKGov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis called for investigations Wednesday into former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joining the effort to help Florida felons pay outstanding legal fees so they can register to vote in November. Moody, saying her office was acting at the request of DeSantis, asked the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Bloomberg raising at least $16 million for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, contending it could be a violation of state laws against offering incentives to people or groups in exchange for voting in a particular manner. “After preliminarily reviewing this limited public information and law, it appears further investigation is warranted,” Moody wrote to Michael McPherson, special agent in charge of the Tampa office of the FBI, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Richard Swearingen. “Accordingly, I request...
    This story is part of a new CBSN series focused on voting rights called "America's Right to Vote." See the previous episode, here. When Tasha Williams registered to vote this year, she couldn't contain her excitement. "I ran through the parking lot like, oh my God! I'm gonna vote!" she said.  She's one of about 36,000 people in Louisiana who stand to benefit from a law signed by the governor last year to restore voting rights for people who were previously incarcerated.  Get updates from the campaign trail delivered to your inbox Williams, who served time for a nonviolent drug offense, says not having that right felt like being behind bars all over again. "It made you question yourself, and it made me kind of angry," she said. "I just did three years in jail...I thought I was finished with prison." That's a sentiment Florida resident Christine Vincent knows all...
    (CNN)Florida's attorney general has requested that the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigate Michael Bloomberg's efforts to reinstate the voting rights of felons by paying their fees, according to a letter provided to CNN by the attorney general's office. Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody said she requested that the agencies investigate "potential violations of election laws." Bloomberg, a former New York mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and his political operation have raised more than $16 million from supporters and foundations over the last week to pay the court fines and fees for more than 30,000 Black and Latino voters in Florida with felonies, allowing them to vote in the upcoming election. The fundraising effort, according to multiple Bloomberg aides, will benefit the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, an organization run by formerly incarcerated people who are working to make it easier for ex-felons to vote. "This transparent...
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s attorney general asked state and federal law enforcement on Wednesday to investigate possible election law violations after billionaire and former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg helped raise more than $16 million for Florida felons to pay their debts so they can vote in the presidential election. Attorney General Ashley Moody sent letters to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI saying that further investigation is warranted. Gov. Ron DeSantis had asked Moody to review allegations that Bloomberg and the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition had violated the law by offering incentives for voting. DeSantis and Moody are both Republicans. “I have instructed the Statewide Prosecutor to work with law enforcement and any Statewide Grand Jury that the Governor may call,” Moody said in a written statement. In 2018, voters approved a constitutional amendment to restore most felons’ voting rights once they’ve completed their sentences....
    By BRENDAN FARRINGTON, Associated Press TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida's attorney general asked state and federal law enforcement on Wednesday to investigate possible election law violations after billionaire and former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg helped raise more than $16 million for Florida felons to pay their debts so they can vote in the presidential election. Attorney General Ashley Moody sent letters to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI saying that further investigation is warranted. Gov. Ron DeSantis had asked Moody to review allegations that Bloomberg and the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition had violated the law by offering incentives for voting. DeSantis and Moody are both Republicans. “I have instructed the Statewide Prosecutor to work with law enforcement and any Statewide Grand Jury that the Governor may call," Moody said in a written statement. In 2018, voters approved a constitutional amendment to restore most felons’ voting rights...
    Photo via NSFDesmond Meade graduated from law school, made it onto Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people and was at the forefront of a successful crusade to restore voting rights to convicted felons in Florida. But the former drug dealer who was tossed out of the Army three decades ago hasn’t redeemed himself enough to be pardoned for his crimes by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. Accompanied by his wife and a daughter Wednesday, Meade told DeSantis, Patronis and the other members of the state Board of Executive Clemency, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, that he has “emerged from a very dark place” to become “a beacon of hope and inspiration to so many people.” “Not only in this great state of Florida, but across the country, just showing that we can overcome obstacles, that we can overcome...
    Morgan Marietta September 23, 2020 8:58AM (UTC) This article was originally published on The Conversation. If the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is replaced this year, the Supreme Court will become something the country has not seen since the justices became a dominant force in American cultural life after World War II: a decidedly conservative court. A court with a 6-3 conservative majority would be a dramatic shift from the court of recent years, which was more closely divided, with Ginsburg as the leader of the liberal wing of four justices and Chief Justice John Roberts as the frequent swing vote. : As a scholar of the court and the politics of belief, I see three things likely to change in an era of a conservative majority: The court will accept a broader range of controversial cases for consideration; the court's interpretation of constitutional rights will shift; and the...
    TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, a former New York mayor and onetime Democratic presidential candidate, is the latest celebrity to join in the effort to help Florida felons pay outstanding legal financial obligations so they can register to vote in November. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition has collected more than $20 million for a “Fines and Fees” fund established in response to a state law and a recent court ruling requiring felons to pay “legal financial obligations” — fees, fines, costs and restitution — to be eligible to vote. The 2019 law was aimed at implementing a constitutional amendment, known as Amendment 4, that restored voting rights to felons “upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole and probation.” The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Bloomberg raised more than $16 million to help Black and Hispanic felons in Florida who would be likely to support Democratic presidential candidate...
    RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- A Bay Area legend turned 99-years-old today. Betty Reid Soskin celebrated on Zoom and offered sage advice to get out and vote this fall.When you're 99, it's easy to look back -- But Betty Reid Soskin is also looking ahead, saying she's grateful.RELATED: Bay Area legal community shares memories of Supreme Court icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg"There are so many pieces that are important to me that I've lived through and can only now recognize as having been special."Soskin was born on September 2, 1922. During World War II she worked as a file clerk for a boilermaker's union and founded Reid's Records in Berkeley. It was open for 75 years.She was a songwriter in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and has continued to be vocal as the oldest park ranger at the Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park in Richmond.TAKE ACTION: Get help...
    Reuters September 22, 2020 0 Comments Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has raised over $16 million to help former felons restore their voting rights in the critical battleground state of Florida, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. The fundraising tally comes just over a week after Bloomberg aides said the former New York City mayor, who made an unsuccessful 2020 bid for the Democratic nomination, would spend at least $100 million to help Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign against President Donald Trump in Florida. “The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right,” Bloomberg said in an emailed statement, adding that he is working with a group that has been helping former felons’ pay fines and access the ballot box. In-state voting by mail starts on Thursday in Florida, which will be the biggest prize among competitive states on Nov. 3’s...
    By Trevor Hunnicutt (Reuters) - Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has raised over $16 million to help former felons restore their voting rights in the critical battleground state of Florida, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. The fundraising tally comes just over a week after Bloomberg aides said the former New York City mayor, who made an unsuccessful 2020 bid for the Democratic nomination, would spend at least $100 million to help Democrat Joe Biden's campaign against President Donald Trump in Florida. "The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right," Bloomberg said in an emailed statement, adding that he is working with a group that has been helping former felons' pay fines and access the ballot box. In-state voting by mail starts on Thursday in Florida, which will be the biggest prize among competitive states on Nov. 3's Election Day,...
    Billionaire and failed presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg raised more than $16 million to help former felons in Florida regain their voting rights. A recently upheld 2018 Florida constitutional amendment that permits many felons who have finished their sentences to regain their right to vote as long as they've paid off any outstanding fines, fees, or restitution, and Bloomberg, in partnership with Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, paid off the debts owed by 32,000 felons, according to Axios. "The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right," the former New York City mayor said through a spokesperson. "Working together with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, we are determined to end disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it." People who were eligible to have their debt paid off included those who were already registered to vote, black or Latino, and had fines and...
    Alex Thomas September 22, 2020 0 Comments Former New York mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has helped raise over $20 million in an effort to restore voting rights to former felons in Florida. In 2018, Floridians voted to restore voting rights to felons who finished their prison sentence. Bloomberg’s cash infusion follows a 2019 Republican bill signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) that requires felons to pay fines before they are eligible to vote. The law was found unconstitutional in May but an appeals court overturned that ruling on Sept. 11th. NBC projects that Florida will pass Amendment 4, restoring voting rights to felons. pic.twitter.com/Sr6Z9DtxzB— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) November 7, 2018 But Bloomberg quickly swept in and pumped millions into an effort to pay the outstanding fines and restore voting rights to tens of thousands of felons. In a statement,...
    Former Democratic presidential candidate and billionaire Mike Bloomberg helped raise millions to fight a Florida law that prohibits former felons from voting until all legal fees are paid. Bloomberg’s nearly $17 million contribution to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition gives the group over $20 million to restore the franchise of 32,000 felons before the Nov. 3 election, according to the Associated Press. Bloomberg had already dumped nearly $100 million into the Florida race. (RELATED: Bloomberg Pledges At Least $100M To Help Biden Win Florida) “Working together with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, we are determined to end disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it,” Bloomberg’s spokesperson said. The news comes after a  6-4 ruling from the panel of 10 judges on a federal appeals court reversed a lower-court ruling that granted voting eligibility to Florida felons despite any remaining expenses. (RELATED: Florida Felons To Repay Fines And Fees...
    NBA superstar LeBron James told USA Today on Sunday, that black people’s votes don’t count. In an interview published on Sunday, James exclaimed that blacks just don’t feel that their vote counts and he hopes to fix that with his voter registration project. “Black people in the community don’t believe that their vote matters,” James told the newspaper. “We grow up and don’t think that our vote actually matters. It doesn’t. We’ve seen recounts before. We’ve seen our voices be muted our whole lives,” he said. “Black people in the community don’t believe that their vote matters,” James said. “We grow up and don’t think that our vote actually matters. It doesn’t. We’ve seen recounts before. We’ve seen our voices be muted our whole lives.”https://t.co/z6pHmMvNSs — USA TODAY (@USATODAY) September 20, 2020 While James may feel blacks’ votes are meaningless, many of his fellow citizens don’t seem to agree, at...
    “With less than 50 days until the election and voting already underway in many states, it’s important that we demand all senators pledge not to move forward with any nominee until after the next inauguration.” That’s according to a new petition from MoveOn.org, now signed by over 780,000 people, urging the GOP-controlled Senate to honor the dying wish of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and allow the victor of this year’s presidential contest to choose her replacement. As early voting was getting underway in some states for this year’s general election—in which President Donald Trump is facing off against Democratic nominee Joe Biden—the liberal justice died Friday night at the age of 87, sparking an intense battle over what to do about her empty seat. Let’s honor RBG’s wish. Sign the petition: https://t.co/0oNNbwRjij pic.twitter.com/hkyIxp1ykV — MoveOn (@MoveOn) September 19, 2020 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) swiftly made clear that Trump’s third nominee...
    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will forever be remembered as one of this nation’s greatest crusaders for women’s rights. But, in this moment of extreme political turmoil with the nation’s most consequential election in decades approaching, let us also remember that RBG was a champion of voting rights. Ginsburg authored perhaps her most-powerful dissenting opinion to a 2013 decision that severely weakened the nation’s Voting Rights Act of 1965. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority in the 5-4 decision, said that federal oversight of states with histories of voting abuses was no longer needed for “our country has changed” from its history of racial discrimination. Ginsburg vehemently disagreed, arguing that it was only because of that oversight that discrimination was kept in check. Eliminating oversight, she wrote, “is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.” How right she proved to...
    You get three guesses why and the first two don't count. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent federal board of eight commissioners tasked with investigating civil rights issues and recommending remedies, has created a new series of recommendations to better protect minority voting rights during the coronavirus pandemic. We will never see it, reports USA Today. By a party line vote, the committee's four conservative members voted to block its release and end work on the project. The reasons for the conservative objections are ... interesting. The Trump-appointed Stephen Gilchrist told USA Today that he found the timing of issuing a report on voting challenges and recommendations so close to an election "somewhat suspect." (Work on the report began in June.) A second Trump appointee, J. Christian Adams, appears to have gone more directly down a conspiracy path: USA Today reported he voted against the report's release because...
    Michael Monfluery, 38, who has never been eligible to vote, stands in a courthouse corridor following special court hearing aimed at restoring the right to vote under Florida's Amendment 4 in a Miami-Dade County courtroom on Nov. 8, 2019, in Miami, Florida. The right to vote is a foundational constitutional right for United States citizens, but more than 700,000 Floridians are being denied this fundamental right until they can pay a modern-day poll tax. After a hard-fought 2018 campaign, Florida voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment 4—a state constitutional amendment restoring the right to vote to people with felony convictions who completed their sentence—which enfranchised 1.4 million Floridians who had previously been banned from voting for life.  The Florida state legislature moved immediately to undermine the will of Florida voters and steal this victory, passing a law that requires people to pay all court-ordered fines and fees before the state restores their voting...
    (CNN)Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville is favored to beat Democratic Alabama Sen. Doug Jones this fall and join one of the world's most exclusive clubs. Which makes his recent answer to a question about whether or not he supports the Voting Right Acts all the more worrisome.In audio obtained by HuffPost from a September 1 call at the Birmingham, Alabama, Sunrise Rotary Club, Tuberville delivers up a heaping portion of word salad when asked about the VRA. Read it for yourself:Election 101"You know, the thing about the Voting Rights Act it's, you know ― there's a lot of different things you can look at it as, you know, who's it going to help? What direction do we need to go with it? I think it's important that everything we do we keep secure. We keep an eye on it. It's run by our government. And it's run...
    In April 2017, the United States Congress created the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission to commemorate a major milestone in American history in 2020 – 100 years of women’s constitutional right to vote. With this centennial comes an unparalleled opportunity to amplify women’s stories and to recognize women’s fight for the vote for what it was – one of the longest social movements in United States history that culminated in a massive extension of democracy, individual rights, and justice. American women faced inequality from the founding of the country. They could not own property, could not vote, and had unequal access to education and occupations, among other constraints. In 1776, Abigail Adams had written to her husband urging him to “remember the ladies” as men gathered for the Continental Congress to establish America’s independence. She warned that if they formed a government that did not provide women with equal rights to men, then women would “foment a rebellion.” HEROINES OF THE SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT, 100 YEARS SINCE WOMEN WON THE RIGHT TO VOTE: DOCUMENTARY And foment a rebellion, they...
    By Carly Wipf, San Jose Spotlight SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — The San Jose City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to endorse a measure slated for the November ballot that restores voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals. If Proposition 17 is passed by the state’s voters, California will follow in the footsteps of 19 other states by allowing residents on parole for felony convictions to vote upon finishing their sentences and being released. “Everyone has a past. That past should not determine someone’s future,” Councilmember Lan Diep said. Several residents, including Cynthia Diaz who spoke on the issue ahead of the City Council’s vote Tuesday, agreed and said they want to welcome formerly incarcerated people back into the community. “People make mistakes,” Diaz said. “They should be allowed to come back to society, pay their taxes and freely be able to vote. We shouldn’t take people’s voice away.” Diaz said if...
    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A Native American voting rights group and two tribes on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit against South Dakota state agencies, alleging that the state is violating federal law by failing to offer adequate voter registration services. The lawsuit alleges that the state's agencies didn't provide ample opportunities to register to vote or update voter registration information at places like motor vehicle and public assistance offices in areas near Native American reservations. Federal law requires the agencies to help people register to vote at those kinds of offices, including ones that provide public assistance or serve people with disabilities. The Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Four Directions, a voting rights group, brought the lawsuit against the South Dakota Secretary of State, Department of Public Safety, Department of Social Services and Department of Labor and Regulation. The complaint in the lawsuit says that the...
    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A Native American voting rights group and two tribes on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit against South Dakota state agencies, alleging that the state is violating federal law by failing to offer adequate voter registration services. The lawsuit alleges that the state’s agencies didn’t provide ample opportunities to register to vote or update voter registration information at places like motor vehicle and public assistance offices in areas near Native American reservations. Federal law requires the agencies to help people register to vote at those kinds of offices, including ones that provide public assistance or serve people with disabilities. The Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Four Directions, a voting rights group, brought the lawsuit against the South Dakota Secretary of State, Department of Public Safety, Department of Social Services and Department of Labor and Regulation. The complaint in the lawsuit says that the...
    (CNN)Cecilia Washington isn't sure exactly how many thousands of dollars in outstanding court fees she still owes in Bradenton, Florida, a vestige of her most recent felony conviction.But she knows the high price of that unpaid bill: Unless she can find a way to erase the debt soon, she will be barred from casting a ballot in November's general election. A federal appellate court ruled last week that prohibiting ex-felons with unpaid court fees and fines from voting does not constitute an unconstitutional poll tax."If I don't get an opportunity to vote, I'm going to be heartbroken," said Washington, a 40-year-old Orlando resident who has been active in efforts to restore voting rights to the formerly incarcerated. "People make mistakes. This is real life, and God forgives everybody."More on voting Understanding mail-in voting in the US How to make sure your 2020 mail-in vote is counted 2020 presidential polls,...
    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Registered Vermont voters will automatically receive a ballot in mail for the November election and may return it by mail or drop it off at their town clerk's office early, or bring it to the polls on Election Day, Secretary of State Jim Condos says. Ballots will start to be mailed on Sept. 21 and any voter who does not receive one by Oct. 1 should contact their town clerk, Condos said this week. “Voting by mail is simple, safe and secure,” he said in a written statement. “Our office has taken the proactive steps to mail a ballot to all active, registered voters so that we can preserve the voting rights of all eligible Vermonters during a pandemic, while protecting the public health by reducing high traffic in-person voting on Election Day.” Polling places will be operating under social distancing and sanitization guidance, he said....
    LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday threw its support behind a proposition that aims to restore voting rights to Californians on parole with a 4-1 vote. Supervisor Kathryn Barger cast the lone dissenting vote Proposition 17 would give U.S. citizens living in California and currently on parole — an estimated 40,000 people — the right to vote. If passed, the proposition would amend the 1974 measure that gave people convicted of felonies the right to vote after they completed their sentence and were no longer on parole. Nineteen other states already have a similar law in place, though 10 other states permanently restrict the ability to vote to those convicted of certain felonies. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas championed the motion, saying that people who have served their time — many of whom were actively working and paying taxes — should be given the opportunity to...
    By The Associated Press The (Anderson) Herald Bulletin. September 9, 2020 State’s color-coded system is valuable resource Indiana’s color-coding system of recommendations for school operations is another valuable resource in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, and educators would do well to make good use of this resource. The site went live last week and tracks recommendations for potential school closures during the coronavirus pandemic. The system assigns each county a color-coded rating based on the number of novel coronavirus cases and the risk of spreading the virus. Colors range from blue, meaning that school operations may proceed as normal (with social distancing in place) to red, meaning that all education should be remote. The new system provides only recommendations, not mandates, meaning schools are not obligated to follow them. Districts aren’t required to test students, faculty or staff, and there are no penalties for schools that don’t comply with...
    A German soccer player jumped into the stands and attacked an opposition fan who was insulting his family, shoving them to the ground "Nothings Ever Going to Be the Same": Donatella Versace On Whats Next For Fashion Last week was a disaster for voting rights in the courts We are now less than two months from Election Day, and the next several weeks are likely to bring a rush of court decisions determining who is actually able to vote. © Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images President Donald Trump looks on as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a rally in November 2019. Both sides are gearing up for litigation. Last May, Republicans announced they have a $20 million legal war chest. Democrats have assembled a small army of hundreds of lawyers — including two former US solicitors general and a former US attorney general — hoping to counter...
    Democrats and civil rights groups are seething over a court ruling last week that upheld a Florida law requiring indigent former felons to pay off outstanding court fees as a precondition to having their voting rights restored, a policy critics compare to a modern-day version of the Jim Crow-era poll tax. The 6-4 opinion by the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday was expected to disproportionately burden the franchise of African Americans with felony records in Florida, where Joe BidenJoe BidenCrowd aims 'lock him up' chant at Obama during Trump rally Biden campaign plans to run ad during every NFL game until Election Day LA mayor condemns protesters shouting 'death to police' outside hospital treating ambushed officers MORE, the Democratic presidential nominee, is running neck and neck with President TrumpDonald John TrumpCrowd aims 'lock him up' chant at Obama during Trump rally Nevada governor: Trump 'taking...
    San Francisco is considering considering allowing people young as 16 to vote in local elections. The proposition, which will appear on the November ballot, could make it the first major city to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections, NBC News reported. Crystal Chan, an 18-year-old who worked to get the measure known as Vote 16 on the ballot, said she believes it could help instill better voting habits. “I really think that Vote 16 will help youth of color in San Francisco establish the habit of voting at an earlier age, and really provide them with the support and the resources that they need to continue building on that habit as they grow older,” Chan told the outlet. But Nate Hochman, a Republican student activist at Colorado College, argued that young people lack the experience to know “what good governance looks like.” “Sixteen-year-olds — they’re sophomores, juniors...
    (CNN)In several places, the United States Constitution says that states may not "deny" or "abridge" the right to vote based on several characteristics: race, sex, inability to pay a poll tax, or age. Given that these constitutional amendments prohibit both "denial" and "abridgement," we would expect those terms to mean different things and for courts to prevent either action. Unfortunately, in a case out of Texas, a federal appeals court just construed the word "abridge" so narrowly as to render it almost a nullity, once again showing the federal courts' hostility to a broad understanding of the fundamental right to vote. Joshua A. DouglasThe case involves Texas's rules on absentee voting, which permit anyone aged 65 or older—but not younger voters—to vote absentee without another excuse. Texas is one of just six states that will not allow fears of Covid-19 to qualify as a valid excuse for absentee balloting this...
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) Leading Off ● Florida: On Friday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling that had struck down the Florida GOP's modern-day poll tax, making it all but certain that the law will remain in effect for November. Republicans passed their law last year after voters amended Florida's constitution in 2018 to end lifetime voter disenfranchisement for up to 1.4 million people who had served out sentences for all but the most serious crimes. An expert witness for the plaintiffs estimated that 775,000 citizens would be unable to pay the poll tax, in large part because Florida levies onerous fines to fund its court system. The court noted, for instance, that one county charges a minimum of $668 for a public defender—and $548 even for defendants who forgo one. Furthermore, 43% of the disenfranchised are Black, roughly three times the African American...
    ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - Florida felons must pay all fines, restitution and legal fees before they can regain their right to vote, a federal appellate court ruled Friday in a case that could have broad implications for the November elections. Reversing a lower court judge's decision that gave Florida felons the right to vote regardless of outstanding legal obligations, the order from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the position of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the GOP-led state Legislature, leaving voting rights activists aghast. Under Amendment 4, which Florida voters passed overwhelmingly in 2018, felons who have completed their sentences would have voting rights restored. But the legal dispute arose after lawmakers the next year moved to define what it means to complete a sentence. In addition to prison time served, lawmakers directed that all legal financial obligations, including unpaid fines and restitution, would also have to...
    Chief Judge William Pryor The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, dominated by Republican appointed circuit judges, approved a controversial statute that critics and lower courts repeatedly said amounted to a “poll tax” on formerly-incarcerated individuals. That law effectively overturned a constitutional amendment approved by a super-majority of Florida voters in 2018 that eliminated the Sunshine State’s Jim Crow-era ban on extending the franchise to people convicted of felony offenses. Voting rights advocates appeared to have successfully ushered in a revolutionary change to Florida’s exclusionary voting system after the 2018 midterm elections. Some 65-percent of Floridians voted in favor of Amendment 4–which would have allowed roughly 1.5 million previously disenfranchised Floridians the right to vote. The popular measure affected roughly around 7-percent of Florida’s entire population, but disproportionately impacted the state’s African-American community for the better. Under the prior, 150-year-old system of disenfranchisement, nearly 20-percent of Florida’s Black...
    Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe. We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail: LEADING THE DAY: 19 YEARS SINCE 9/11 Friday marked the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks that forever changed the U.S. and the world.  President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: I feel 'deep down fury' that Trump downplayed pandemic NYT reporter removed from Trump rally in Michigan Trump says he didn't share classified information following Woodward book MORE, Vice President Pence, former Vice President Biden and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisNJ governor designates Juneteenth as state holiday Harris calls it 'outrageous' Trump downplayed coronavirus The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Woodward book rattles Trump MORE (D-Calif.) all honored the day in public...
    If Florida felons plan to vote in November, they must pay off all fines, restitution, and legal fees before they can do so, a federal appellate court ruled Friday. The order from the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision by a lower court that initially gave Florida felons the right to vote without needing to pay off legal obligations, according to the Associated Press. In 2018, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 4, which would restore voting rights to felons in the state who have completed their sentences. The amendment was met with a political fight between state lawmakers who sought deeper explanation as to what it would mean to complete a sentence. Among the dispute was whether outstanding fines were included in the completion of a sentence in addition to prison time served. The decision to include paying off legal obligations in order to earn back...
    Photo via U.S. Rep. Val Demings/FacebookShortly after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court ruled that Florida’s felons cannot vote until they pay court fines and fees, Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings announced Friday she introduced a bill to prohibit states from denying federal voting rights to citizens regardless of prior criminal convictions. Demings’ bill, House Resolution 8101, was filed in late August. It seeks to do what Amendment 4 backers have been fighting for in the Florida Legislature and in courts since Florida voters approved that measure in 2018: restoration of voting rights, at least in federal elections, to people whom activists such as Desmond Meade call “returning citizens.” At issue in the Florida case is whether the amendment’s requirement that felons complete all their court-ordered obligations should include fines, fees, and restitution. Advocates say those monetary sums can be out of reach for many felons struggling to put their lives together after serving prison sentences....
    MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – In a case that could have broad implications for the November elections, a federal appellate court ruled Friday that Florida felons must pay all fines, restitution, and legal fees before they can regain their right to vote. Reversing a lower court judge’s decision that gave Florida felons the right to vote regardless of outstanding legal obligations, the order from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a disappointment to voting rights activists and upheld the position of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the GOP-led state Legislature. Under Amendment 4, which Florida voter passed overwhelmingly in 2018, felons who have completed their sentences would have voting rights restored. But the legal dispute arose after lawmakers the next year moved to define what it means to complete a sentence. In addition to prison time served, lawmakers stipulated that all legal financial obligations, including unpaid fines and restitution, would...
    Florida felons must pay all fines, restitution and legal fees before they can regain their right to vote, a federal appellate court ruled Friday in a case that could have broad implications for the November elections. Reversing a lower court judge's decision that gave Florida felons the right to vote regardless of outstanding legal obligations, the order from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a disappointment to voting rights activists and upheld the position of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and the GOP-led state Legislature. Under Amendment 4, which Florida voters passed overwhelmingly in 2018, felons who have completed their sentences would have voting rights restored. But the legal dispute arose after lawmakers the next year moved to define what it means to complete a sentence. Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox In addition to prison time served, lawmakers stipulated that all legal financial obligations, including unpaid...
    By Jarrett Renshaw (Reuters) - A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that Florida can require felons to pay all fines, restitution and legal fees they face before they can regain their right to vote, reversing a lower court ruling that held the measure unconstitutional. The ruling, by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, could influence the election outcome in November. Florida is considered a must-win in President Donald's Trump's bid for re-election and disenfranchised felons account for a significant voting bloc in a state with a history of tight elections. The dispute, which could ultimately head to U.S. Supreme Court, centers on whether the law is a way around a voter-approved 2018 measure that aimed to end the state's lifetime prohibition on voting by ex-felons. The Republican-controlled Florida legislature passed the law the following year, requiring all former felons to pay off outstanding court debts and legal fees...
    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Florida felons must pay all fines, restitution and legal fees before they can regain their right to vote, a federal appellate court ruled Friday in a case that could have broad implications for the November elections. Reversing a lower court judge’s decision that gave Florida felons the right to vote regardless of outstanding legal obligations, the order from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a disappointment to voting rights activists and upheld the position of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the GOP-led state Legislature. Under Amendment 4, which Florida voter passed overwhelmingly in 2018, felons who have completed their sentences would have voting rights restored. But the legal dispute arose after lawmakers the next year moved to define what it means to complete a sentence. In addition to prison time served, lawmakers stipulated that all legal financial obligations, including unpaid fines and restitution,...
    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Florida felons must pay all fines, restitution and legal fees before they can regain their right to vote, a federal appellate court ruled Friday in a case that could have broad implications for the November elections. Reversing a lower court judge's decision that gave Florida felons the right to vote regardless of outstanding legal obligations, the order from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a disappointment to voting rights activists and upheld the position of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the GOP-led state Legislature. Under Amendment 4, which Florida voter passed overwhelmingly in 2018, felons who have completed their sentences would have voting rights restored. But the legal dispute arose after lawmakers the next year moved to define what it means to complete a sentence. In addition to prison time served, lawmakers stipulated that all legal financial obligations, including unpaid fines and restitution, would...
    By CURT ANDERSON, AP Legal Affairs Writer ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Florida felons must pay all fines, restitution and legal fees before they can regain their right to vote, a federal appellate court ruled Friday. Reversing a lower court judge's decision that gave Florida felons the right to vote regardless of outstanding legal obligations, the order from the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals was a disappointment to voting rights activists and could have national implications in November’s presidential election. Under Amendment 4, felons who have completed their sentences would have voting rights restored. But the legal dispute arose after the Republican-controlled state Legislature in 2019 moved to define what it means to complete a sentence. In addition to time served, lawmakers stipulated that all legal financial obligations, including unpaid fines and restitution, would also have to be settled before a felon could be eligible to vote. Amendment 4...
    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Florida felons must pay all fines, restitution and legal fees before they can regain their right to vote, a federal appellate court ruled Friday. Reversing a lower court judge’s decision that gave Florida felons the right to vote regardless of outstanding legal obligations, the order from the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals was a disappointment to voting rights activists and could have national implications in November’s presidential election. Under Amendment 4, felons who have completed their sentences would have voting rights restored. But the legal dispute arose after the Republican-controlled state Legislature in 2019 moved to define what it means to complete a sentence. In addition to time served, lawmakers stipulated that all legal financial obligations, including unpaid fines and restitution, would also have to be settled before a felon could be eligible to vote. Amendment 4 permanently bars convicted murderers and rapists...
    (Left to right) President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Desmond Meade, singer/songwriter John Legend, state attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, and public defender Carlos Martinez sit during a special court hearing aimed at restoring the right to vote under Florida's Amendment 4 in a Miami-Dade County courtroom in 2019. With a court appeal still in process, formerly incarcerated Floridians and allies are mobilizing to restore voting rights to thousands ahead of the November election. Led by Desmond Meade, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) works with formerly incarcerated citizens in restoring their voting rights. “A person's economic status should never be a barrier to them having access to the ballot box,” said Meade in an interview with Prism. As previously reported by Prism in May, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle held that Florida’s existing pay-to-vote system was unconstitutional and unduly burdened returning citizens who could not afford to pay...
    Ming Hsu Chen September 9, 2020 8:29AM (UTC) This article was originally published on The Conversation. Citizenship unlocks voting rights for immigrants in America. The long wait for naturalized citizenship imperils those rights for a growing number of immigrants. A backlog is defined as the "number of pending applications that exceed acceptable or target pending levels." The nationwide backlog for naturalization is now exacerbated by COVID-19 agency closures and social distancing requirements that limit the size of the oath ceremony. : With the November 2020 elections coming, holding back immigrants from becoming citizens will be consequential — especially given the growing size of the Asian American and Latino electorate in swing states. Rising backlog From 2017 to 2019, the Colorado State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, a bipartisan government agency of which I am a member, examined the causes and consequences of naturalization backlogs and their...
    (CNN)Last month, Americans celebrated the centennial of the 19th Amendment, recognizing women's right to vote. This celebration rings hollow -- as we hurtle toward the 2020 election -- if we fail to learn from the ways that race has been used to fracture women's efforts toward coalition politics and our collective understanding of our rights. For example, even as Senator Kamala Harris's historic role as the first woman of color to run for vice president on a major party ticket energizes feminist coalitions, Donald Trump's divisive manipulation of racial stereotypes seeks to fracture and obscure women's shared interests. Catherine Powell Camille Gear RichNotably, 2020 is also the 150-year anniversary of the 15th Amendment, recognizing the right of Black men to vote (though for many Black men, reality would look very different until well into the 20th century). And yet, significantly less media attention has focused on that anniversary, much...
    There’s less than a month left to register if you plan to vote in November. In-person voting may look different with safety guidelines in place, so many may be considering mail-in voting. But how do you make sure your vote counts? CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana spoke to voting rights attorney and member of the Miami Board of the Florida ACLU Carlene Sawyer about what you need to know as we gear up for this historic election.
    A North Carolina court ruled Friday that outstanding restitution, fees or other court-imposed monetary obligations can’t prevent convicted felons from voting if they’ve completed all other portions of their sentence. The ruling, which may face appeals, could pave the way for an influx of thousands of felons to have their voting rights restored amid hotly contested races for the presidency and U.S. Senate in the battleground state. It wasn’t immediately clear how many were affected by the ruling, but lawyers for the plaintiffs said it was in the thousands. A statement issued by Forward Justice, one of the advocacy groups involved in the challenge, said that the ruling would allow some convicted felons to start registering to vote immediately. “This ruling is a major victory for the thousands of North Carolinians who have been denied access to the ballot due to an inability to pay financial obligations,” said...
    A North Carolina court ruled Friday that outstanding restitution, fees or other court-imposed monetary obligations cant prevent convicted felons from voting if theyve completed all other portions of their sentence. The ruling, which may face appeals, could pave the way for an influx of felons to have their voting rights restored amid hotly contested races for the presidency and U.S. Senate in the battleground state. It wasnt immediately how many were affected by the ruling. “Today’s decision is a victory for North Carolina voters and for democracy,” said Farbod Faraji of Protect Democracy, who was one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys. Lawyers representing the state government defendants didn’t immediately respond to an email Friday asking whether they intended to appeal. The three-judge panel of Wake County Superior Court, which was considering a challenge to state law governing the restoration of voting rights, declined to settle the lawsuits arguments that probation, parole...
    A North Carolina court ruled Friday that outstanding restitution, fees or other court-imposed monetary obligations can’t prevent convicted felons from voting if they’ve completed all other portions of their sentence. The ruling, which may face appeals, could pave the way for an influx of felons to have their voting rights restored amid hotly contested races for the presidency and U.S. Senate in the battleground state. It wasn’t immediately how many were affected by the ruling. “Today’s decision is a victory for North Carolina voters and for democracy,” said Farbod Faraji of Protect Democracy, who was one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys. Lawyers representing the state government defendants didn’t immediately respond to an email Friday asking whether they intended to appeal. The three-judge panel of Wake County Superior Court, which was considering a challenge to state law governing the restoration of voting rights, declined to settle the lawsuit’s arguments...
    Joe Biden and Kamala Harris talked about what's wrong with President Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout, about voting rights, and about their long-term plans for the country beyond the virus in a 15-minute video of their conversation released by the campaign and first seen by CBS News. "COVID, he [President Trump] didn't cause. But, my God, the way it's been responded to.  And I don't think he gets it." Biden said during the socially distanced chat he had with his running mate. "I just don't get how there's not a more significant understanding of the incredible pain that is occurring in America and the economic chaos caused from that." Harris echoed her running mate and accused Mr. Trump of "dismissing" the pandemic, treating it as something "he can just flick away."  Get updates from the campaign trail delivered to your inbox "He doesn't have...
    Christine Vincent was hopeful in November 2018 when she thought she could vote again. Florida had just passed a historic amendment giving former felons the right back after the completion of their sentence, and she felt like she could be a “normal” member of society again. But there’s a catch: a controversial law signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis — and recently upheld by the Supreme Court — requires ex-felons to pay off all court fees and fines before they can cast a ballot. Many people, including Vincent, don’t know how much they owe because of Florida’s “arcane” record-keeping system. Vincent, a 35-year-old mother of three from Broward County, had served two years for grand theft and thought she had paid off $8,000 in fees. But a voting rights group, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, called her last month to say she still owes money – and she is still...
    Christine Vincent was hopeful in November 2018 when she thought she could vote again. Florida had just passed a historic amendment giving former felons the right back after the completion of their sentence, and she felt like she could be a "normal" member of society again. But there's a catch: a controversial law signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis — and recently upheld by the Supreme Court — requires ex-felons to pay off all court fees and fines before they can cast a ballot. Many people, including Vincent, don't know how much they owe because of Florida's "arcane" record-keeping system. Vincent, a 35-year-old mother of three from Broward County, had served two years for grand theft and thought she had paid off $8,000 in fees. But a voting rights group, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, called her last month to say she still owes money - and she is still...
    (CNN)America is in the homestretch of our fight to save what's left of our imperfect democracy. With a little over two months to a crucial election -- one that guarantees future fights between a progressive vision and ascendant authoritarianism -- we're out of time to plan for what's next. We are already living what's next. And we need to be working hard. K. Sabeel RahmanThe Movement for Black Lives, one of the largest social movements in American history, has put the spotlight squarely on the epidemic of anti-Black police violence, and the deeper systemic violence wrought by a political system that continues to suppress the votes and voice of Black Americans in particular. Make no mistake: this is our generation's Reconstruction moment, where we must pick up the baton and continue the fight for the kind of inclusive democracy envisioned not only by civil rights icons like the late Rev....
    Bill Blum August 30, 2020 10:59AM (UTC) This article was produced by the Independent Media Institute. As election day approaches, voting-rights lawsuits are heating up across the country. In two separate federal cases in August, 20 states and the District of Columbia sued President Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to reverse cutbacks to the postal system designed to undermine the agency's ability to deliver the expected upsurge in mail-in ballots this fall. At the same time, the Trump administration has filed federal lawsuits to invalidate vote-by-mail procedures adopted in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and New Jersey. The administration alleges, without any supporting evidence, that easing the rules on mail-in balloting will lead to massive fraud. : The vote-by-mail litigation joins other ongoing election cases that have been launched in Texas, Alabama, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina and elsewhere, challenging restrictive voter ID laws, voting roll purges, the closing of polling stations in minority communities, and other suppression techniques. A few of...
    A Saturday report from The Intercept spotlighted the purported role Attorney General William Barr is playing in “weaponizing” the Department of Justice to help Donald Trump win reelection in November. In particular, the publication claimed Barr is using his power to attack Trump’s enemies and undermine voting for the benefit of the real estate mogul. Gerry Heber, who worked in the DOJ for over 20 years on issues related to voter rights, told The Intercept that Barr is not only repeating Trump’s purportedly false claims about the susceptibility of vote-by-mail to fraud, his department has failed to properly protect the rights of American voters. “There have been literally dozens of lawsuits all over the country to protect voting rights during the pandemic, so that voters don’t have to choose between voting and putting their health at risk. The Barr DOJ hasn’t yet weighed in on any of those cases.” Former...
    A handful of voter advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s social media executive order on Thursday, according to Protocol. The order was signed after Twitter fact-checked false tweets by Trump on mail-in voting earlier this year, and Thursday’s lawsuit seeks to ensure platforms can counter voting misinformation online. In their complaint, organizations including Rock the Vote and Free Press argue that the order has the potential to jeopardize the rights of voters who access social media platforms for information on mail-in voting. Thursday’s lawsuit follows a separate lawsuit that was filed in June by the Center for Democracy and Technology, which argued that the Trump administration’s Section 230 order violates the First Amendment. “Now, beyond focusing on our core mission to promote participation in our democracy, Rock the Vote has been burdened with the unfortunate and absurd task of correcting misinformation, lies shared by government officials,...
    As election day approaches, voting-rights lawsuits are heating up across the country. In two separate federal cases in August, 20 states and the District of Columbia sued President Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to reverse cutbacks to the postal system designed to undermine the agency’s ability to deliver the expected upsurge in mail-in ballots this fall. At the same time, the Trump administration has filed federal lawsuits to invalidate vote-by-mail procedures adopted in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and New Jersey. The administration alleges, without any supporting evidence, that easing the rules on mail-in balloting will lead to massive fraud. The vote-by-mail litigation joins other ongoing election cases that have been launched in Texas, Alabama, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina and elsewhere, challenging restrictive voter ID laws, voting roll purges, the closing of polling stations in minority communities, and other suppression techniques. A few of the pending lawsuits have already reached the Supreme Court and more, perhaps those involving the Postal Service,...
    Trump has used pardons and commutations for political purposes before. He granted a full pardon to disgraced former Sheriff Joe Arpaio — a prominent Trump backer — in August 2017. He pardoned another backer, conservative activist Dinesh D'Souza in May 2018. After lobbying by Kim Kardashian West, Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, who had been convicted of nonviolent drug crimes. Johnson too will speak at the convention on Thursday. On Tuesday, Miles Taylor, who served as Homeland Security chief of staff under Trump, alleged that Trump offered pardons to any immigration officials who broke the law to "implement his immigration policies." But while Trump has made a big show of helping these few backers, he and many other Republicans have worked to make it harder for less-connected people to regain their rights after completing their sentences. In Florida, voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment in 2018 restoring...
    Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris is calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act ahead of the November election. Sen. Harris (D-Calif.) made the congressional call to action in an op-ed published Wednesday by the Washington Post, in which she marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. “We know what we have to do to fulfill the promise embodied in the 19th Amendment: We need to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, support automatic and same-day voter registration and help fund secure state voting systems. And that is what Joe Biden and I will do when we’re in the White House,” the vice presidential hopeful wrote. Harris, the first woman of color to be nominated for the vice presidency, went on to warn that change “cannot wait until then,” before accusing the Republican party...
    Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris is calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act ahead of the November election. Sen. Harris (D-Calif.) made the congressional call to action in an op-ed published Wednesday by the Washington Post, in which she marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. “We know what we have to do to fulfill the promise embodied in the 19th Amendment: We need to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, support automatic and same-day voter registration and help fund secure state voting systems. And that is what Joe Biden and I will do when we’re in the White House,” the vice presidential hopeful wrote. Harris, the first woman of color to be nominated for the vice presidency, went on to warn that change “cannot wait until then,” before accusing the Republican party of...
    Meghan Markle may be one of the most well known faces in the world, but that didn't stop her from coming over all starstruck when she sat down with activist Gloria Steinem for a conversation about women's rights, representation, and the importance of voting.  The 38-year-old Duchess of Sussex appeared overwhelmed with excitement at points during her 'backyard chat' with Gloria, 86, which was filmed last month for Makers Women, a women's empowerment platform that will stream the Q&A in full on Wednesday.  However, in a short teaser clip that was posted on social media on Tuesday afternoon, viewers get a glimpse at Meghan and Gloria together, looking totally at east while relaxing in wooden deck chairs in a lush yard. Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex and @GloriaSteinem discuss representation, why each vote matters and how all women “are linked, not ranked." MAKERS has an exclusive look at that historic...
    For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters. While the president and his cozied-up postmaster general play with the fate and funding of the Postal Service, there’s some good news on the ground of post offices in Florida. A group of postal workers in Broward County took it upon themselves to break protocol in the name of protecting voting rights. Realizing they had stacks of ballots that wouldn’t be processed in time for an election deadline, the employees rushed to get it done by calling the Supervisor of Elections Office and requesting expedited delivery. The supervisor sent special couriers to multiple post offices to grab the ballots and rush them over, rescuing all 1,225 ballots. Assaults on the USPS and voting rights will continue. Guaranteed. Like the sun rises and pizza is good. Like Publix supermarket soda is delicious. (If you’re in Florida, don’t...
    Curve and decentralized governance Curve, a decentralized finance platform (DeFi) running on Ethereum, offers CRV holders the possibility of locking their tokens in liquidity pools in order to convert them into veCRV, decentralized governance tokens (DAO) on the network. Thus, the veCRVs make it possible to submit proposals for change and to vote for those that are of interest. The longer the lockout duration, the more power the holder gains. Since the launch of CRVs in mid-August, the number of tokens blocked for votes is very low. Currently, it represents only 6.7% of tokens in circulation, which means that only a minority of investors participate in the functioning of the system. ???? To read on the same subject: Curve: $ 1 billion in locked tokens despite controversial management Decentralizing is not all good DeFi protocol yearn.finance, acting as a liquidity pool for Curve, took advantage of this fragility to...
    Washington, DC (CNN)Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed legislation on Thursday that will increase penalties for individuals caught camping on state property. Bill HB 8005 increases the punishment for camping on state property from a misdemeanor to a class E felony that is punishable by up to six years in prison. Signing of the bill comes as protesters have been camping outside the Tennessee Capitol in Nashville, demanding a meeting with the Republican governor to discuss racial inequality and police brutality since June, according to the Washington Post. Protesters are also asking for the removal of a Nathan Bedford Forrest bust at the State Capitol. Forrest was a slave trader and early Ku Klux Klan leader. Campers would first be given a warning and those who refuse to leave would then be charged with a felony. Notably, convicted felons in Tennessee lose their right to vote, which could be a major...
    Tennessee's Republican governor quietly signed a bill earlier this week creating harsher punishments for protesters, including increased jail time and loss of voting rights. Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill Thursday revising criminal laws related to peaceful protesting, after months of demonstrations in front of the state Capitol building in Nashville. The bill, put forward by the state Senate, makes “camping” on state property a criminal offense. Violators would face Class E felony charges, a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days in jail and restitution for any property damage. PORTLAND POLICE ARREST 9 IN VIOLENT CLASH WITH RIOTERS AT PRECINCTOffenders could face up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000 for a Class E felony, the least serious felony in the state. Illegal camping on state property was previously a misdemeanor. Tennesseans found guilty of a felony charge, no matter the classification, lose the right to vote. Class...
    This article was paid for by AlterNet subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here. LEADING OFF ● Missouri: A state court has thrown out the GOP’s ballot summary for a constitutional amendment that Republicans placed on November’s ballot to gut a reform voters enacted in 2018 to make legislative redistricting fairer, ruling that the GOP’s language was deceptive and calling it “the exact evil the summary statement is meant to combat, not promote.” The court rewrote the summary to more accurately convey that the measure would repeal a key part of the 2018 reform proposal, leading the GOP to promptly file an appeal. The GOP had described its amendment as creating an independent commission to draw districts, ban lobbyist gifts, and reduce legislative campaign contribution limits. However, Republicans were deceptively using a tactic that they had accused reformers of using in 2018: adding small ethics reforms to paper over their...
    Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (AP) Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee quietly signed a bill into law Thursday that could result in some protesters losing the right to vote. The new law increases penalties of illegal camping on state property, making protesters who do so be subject to a Class E felony, according to The Hill. The bill was pushed through the state legislature in a special three-day session last week and signed without announcement. This means, if convicted, a protester can face up to six years imprisonment. The state of Tennessee, which has a dark history of voter suppression, does not allow convicted felons to vote. READ MORE: Activist Marquita Bradshaw sees upset in Tennessee senate primary “This bill increases the punishment for illegal camping on state property from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days imprisonment and an order...
    A man holds a flag upside down in front of the Tennessee State Capitol during a peaceful protest on Thursday, June 4. Mark Humphrey/AP For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.On Friday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed a controversial bill that enhances penalties for certain crimes related to political protests and makes it a felony to illegally camp on state property. In Tennessee, a felony conviction automatically revokes an individual’s right to vote. The law also increases penalties for assaulting a first responder, obstructing emergency vehicles, and rioting. The bill follows two months of anti-racism protests in Nashville, during which activists have camped outside the state capitol building in an effort to secure a meeting with Lee. According to the Associated Press, state legislators claimed the law was needed after some protesters set fire to a courthouse in May. But civil libertarians were quick to criticize the...
    Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) on Thursday signed a controversial law the will significantly increase penalties for protesters–including depriving them of their right to vote–for participating in certain kinds of demonstrations, the Associated Press reported Friday. The state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly last week called a three-day special legislative session during which the bill was passed and signed into law without an accompanying announcement or press release. Under the new law, persons charged with illegally camping on state property–a charge that used to be a misdemeanor—will now face a Class E felony and up to six years in prison. The measure, which took immediate effect, comes as the state has seen nearly two months of sustained protests in the wake of the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd. According to the report, lawmakers defended the need for the new law by citing to a late-May demonstration where...
    Protesters outside the Tennessee State Capitol building in June Tennessee isn’t making a big deal about it. During a three day special session, the Republican-dominated state legislature passed a new bill last week without making the usual announcement, and Republican governor Bill Lee “quietly” signed it into law on Friday. But despite the way the bill was tiptoed across the finish line, the results are anything but small — because they could make many forms of protest illegal in Tennessee, and threaten protesters with the loss of voting rights. Since the First Amendment includes “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” it might seem that turning protests into a felony would be not just difficult, but unconstitutional. But Tennessee Republicans aren’t really saying that protesters can’t protest — they’re just making sure that they don’t do anywhere that people can see them...
    Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) Programming Note: The Voting Rights Roundup will be on hiatus the weeks of Aug. 29 and Sept. 5 and will return the week of Sept. 12. Leading Off ● Missouri: A state court has thrown out the GOP's ballot summary for a constitutional amendment that Republicans placed on November's ballot to gut a reform voters enacted in 2018 to make legislative redistricting fairer, ruling that the GOP's language was deceptive and calling it "the exact evil the summary statement is meant to combat, not promote." The court rewrote the summary to more accurately convey that the measure would repeal a key part of the 2018 reform proposal, leading the GOP to promptly file an appeal. The GOP had described its amendment as creating an independent commission to draw districts, ban lobbyist gifts, and reduce legislative campaign contribution limits. However, Republicans were deceptively using a tactic...
    People wait for service at a post office in New York on Wednesday.Wang Ying/Xinhua via ZUMA For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.As Democrats made their final plea for Americans’ votes on the last night of their party convention, their central message was about preserving the right to vote itself. Voting rights took center stage on Thursday evening as party leaders and allies sought to overcome the barriers to voting the Trump administration has erected. The party offered viewers practical advice about how to successfully cast a ballot by mail and framed the current partisan divide over ballot access as the modern extension of the civil rights battle for a fair and inclusive democracy. President Trump has spent his entire presidency trying to delegitimize the election process with claims of fraud. Today, afraid of losing, his administration is dismantling the US Postal Service...
    John Legend and Common gave a rousing performance of their Academy Award-winning song “Glory” on the 2020 Democratic National Convention stage Thursday night. The musicians delivered an impassioned rendition of their 2014 hit — which appeared in the film “Selma” — in honor of the late Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who died July 17 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. The performance followed a five-minute video tribute to the civil rights icon, which included words of praise from longtime Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died last October. “One of the things that John taught us is that you may have to sacrifice, but if you sacrifice for a cause, something bigger than you, and you really believe in it, then you will have people following you,” Cummings said. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms introduced the clip, honoring Lewis as a champion of voting rights. “We must pass on...
    Meaghan Ellis August 20, 2020 0 Comments Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D) stressed the importance of minorities exercising their right to vote despite misinformation being spread about the pandemic and voter fraud. On Thursday evening, Lance-Bottoms delivered her remarks on the final night of the Democratic National Convention. Quoting the words of Audre Lord, she made a plea to voters saying, “Your silence will not protect you.” The Atlanta native paid homage to the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) who spent decades advocating for equal voting rights as she reflected on the words he had written in his parting essay to Americans. “We must pass on the gift that John Lewis sacrificed to give us, we must register, and we must vote,” she said. “In his parting essay written to us, Congressman Lewis expressed his pride in the activism that has swept our country and he reminded us that...
    John Legend and Common gave a rousing performance of their Academy Award-winning song “Glory” on the 2020 Democratic National Convention stage Thursday night. The musicians delivered an impassioned rendition of their 2014 hit — which appeared in the film “Selma” — in honor of the late Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who died July 17 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. The performance followed a five-minute video tribute to the civil rights icon, which included words of praise from longtime Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died last October. “One of the things that John taught us is that you may have to sacrifice, but if you sacrifice for a cause, something bigger than you, and you really believe in it, then you will have people following you,” Cummings said. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms introduced the clip, honoring Lewis as a champion of voting rights. “We must pass on the...
    Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance BottomsKeisha Lance BottomsThe Hill's Morning Report - Obama paints Trump as incapable leader; Harris accepts VP nod Overnight Defense: Trump announces 'snapback' of sanctions on Iran | Uniformed personnel at Dem convention under investigation | Netanyahu calls reported F-35 deal 'fake news' Overnight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate MORE (D) delivered an impassioned call to action during the final night of the virtual Democratic National Convention, urging Americans watching at home to exercise their Constitutional right and vote. In her urging, Bottoms paid tribute to civil rights icon Rep. John LewisJohn LewisHillary Clinton to tell convention: 'This can't be another woulda coulda shoulda election' Democrats officially nominate Biden for president The Hill's Convention Report: Democrats gear up for Day Two of convention MORE (D-Ga.), who recently passed away. "He...
    By GARY D. ROBERTSON, Associated Press RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Attorneys for convicted felons urged North Carolina judges on Wednesday to block a state law that keeps felons from voting until their full sentences — not just prison time — are complete, arguing in part that the law is racially discriminatory. If voters' rights activists are successful, the decision could lead to an influx of voters in a hotly contested election year and potentially affect close races, including the race for president and for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Thom Tillis. Florida has faced a similar ongoing legal battle after Republican state lawmakers last year passed a law requiring all fines, fees and restitution to be paid before felons — who some activists call “returning citizens” — could be allowed to vote. In North Carolina, a state law overhauled in the 1970s is being challenged by groups that...
    BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is displaying two new exhibits about the fight for women's voting rights on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The new exhibits, “To Make Our Voices Heard: Tennessee Women’s Fight for the Vote,” and “Rightfully Hers,” will be on display from Tuesday through Oct. 18, the center said in a statement. Adriana Dunn, curator of the Brownsville museum, said the exhibits “remind us of the tribulation and eventual triumph women experienced in order to obtain equal rights to vote.” The anniversary of the ratification of the amendment that granted women the right to vote was Tuesday. The heritage center educates visitors about the history of cotton, the Hatchie River and musicians who call West Tennessee home. Tina Turner's former school and the last home of blues music pioneer Sleepy John Estes are located at the center. Both were moved...
    President Trump has appointed trailblazing voting rights attorney J. Christian Adams to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR). Last week, Trump announced the appointment of Adams to the USCCR, an addition welcomed by Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton and USCCR Commissioner Peter Kirsanow. “Glad to see that [President Trump] appointed the excellent civil rights attorney J. Christian Adams to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission,” Fitton wrote in a post. “The Left’s unhinged attack shows that he will be a great addition!” In a piece for National Review, Kirsanow wrote that Adams’ appointment — along with Stephen Gilchrist’s appointment — indicates “outstanding reinforcements” are arriving following seven years of a left-wing majority on the Commission. Kirsanow called Adams’ work on elections and voting “outstanding.” Adams, who is president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, served in the DOJ’s Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division from 2005 to 2010. In 2008,...
    (CNN)President Donald Trump is gunning for the women's vote, and so to great fanfare, he announced his plans to pardon one very prominent woman: Susan B. Anthony, who died in 1906. Jill FilipovicAnthony was arrested for voting in Rochester, New York, in 1872, a time when it was illegal for women to do so. She was on the frontlines of the movement for women's suffrage, and by the time her fight was at least partly won and women secured voting rights in 1920, Anthony was long dead -- and even then, women of color continued to be excluded from the ballot box by widespread racist attacks on voting rights. It was the conservatives of Anthony's time who fought back against women's rights, arguing that politics was harsh business too vulgar for women's participation, and that women, as the moral centers of the family, were essentially too good (and too...
    Getty US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the signing ceremony of a proclamation on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment during an event in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, DC on August 18, 2020. - The 19th Amendment was created giving women in the United States the constitutional right to vote. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) Susan B. Anthony never lived to see women get the vote, but she is credited with being one of the biggest influencers in women attaining that right. Anthony never married and dedicated her life to working toward a more equal playing field for women, saying, “There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers,” according to History’s website. Yet she died fourteen years before...
    SAN ANTONIO – It was inequity in pay between her and her male colleagues that set pharmacist-turned-activist Minnie Fisher Cunningham on a mission to help Texas women get the right to vote in the early 1900s. Cunningham helped create the Texas Equal Suffrage Association and served as the first executive secretary of the League of Women Voters. She worked hard, forming critical political relationships and building grassroots support, which helped her accomplish her mission 100 years ago this month. Cunningham was part of a team, who met with then-President Woodrow Wilson, that successfully encouraged him to release a statement leaning toward suffrage. Cunningham was the first woman in Texas to run for U.S. Senate in 1928. She then worked for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who gave her the nickname “Minnie Fish.” She would later go on to run for office herself and spend the rest of her life advocating for...
    Suffragettes parade through New York City. Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images The 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote was ratified on August 18, 1920. Suffragettes were arrested, imprisoned, and otherwise targeted as they fought for voting rights. However, Black women and other women of color largely could not vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and voting rights amendments in 1975. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Just 100 years ago, women were still barred from voting in the polls. Suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and "General" Rosalie Jones fought for women's voting rights through public demonstrations and political advocacy, facing arrest, jail time, and widespread harassment in order to further their cause. President Trump pardoned Susan B. Anthony on Tuesday. It would still be decades before all women could vote, however. Black women and other women of color faced obstacles that restricted...