• Presidential Commission on Election Administration Issues Solid Recommendations

    Professionalization of Election Workforce, Benchmark for Voter Wait Times Good for American Elections

    Washington, D.C.  – Today, the Presidenial Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) released their report to President Obama outlining how to improve the administration of America’s elections. The League submitted testimony to PCEA in September 2013 that urged the Commission to consider a five-point reform agenda as part of its recommendations.

    “Our initial reaction is that there are many good recommendations in the PCEA report and others that we will need to look at more closely to examine the real impact on American voters,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. “For example, the recommendation for all states to provide for in-person early voting is an important and very positive step,” she said. 

    “We are pleased to see that the bipartisan Commission was able to roll up their sleeves and get to work on some of the endemic troubles plaguing our nation’s polling places,” added MacNamara. “PCEA’s prescription for what to do about lack of resources, inadequate compliance with federal laws, the need for professionalization of the election workforce, and creating a benchmark of no one waiting to vote longer than 30 minutes, are badly needed fixes for election administrators and voters.”

    “The Commission’s report was right to recommend that our nation’s elections professionals should regularly partner with experts in the field of emerging technology,” said MacNamara. “A great example of this is the Commission’s recommendation endorsing Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) transmissions of voter information to elections officials. The League believes electronic transmission should be extended to social service agencies that register voters as well,” MacNamara said. “By adopting such electronic practices, officials can eliminate costly and time consuming steps in election administration, reduce errors and increase the ease and convenience of the elections process for both their workers and for voters.”

    “While the League is enthusiastic about online voter registration, the accessibility of these systems continues to be a major concern” noted MacNamara. “The League’s testimony urged the Commission to recommend online voter registration systems designed for all eligible citizens,” said MacNamara. “But a weakness of the report is the endorsement of online registration systems that many eligible voters can't use,” MacNamara said. “Of the systems in the Commission’s report, voters must have a driver’s license or a non-driver’s ID in order to register to vote online. This limitation is unnecessary, will substantially reduce the effectiveness of online registration and also raises concerns about the discriminatory effect,”added MacNamara.

    “We look forward to working with Commission to implement the best of these recommendations and improve how elections are run across this nation,” concluded MacNamara.

     

    CONTACT: Kelly Ceballos, 202-263-1331, kceballos@lwv.org

     

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  • Why "We're Not About to Turn Around": Honoring Martin Luther King's Fight for Voting Rights

    EDITORIAL NOTE: This blog post was originally posted on President Elisabeth MacNamara's Huffington Post blog.

  •  ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION (EAC) REJECTS KANSAS, ARIZONA REQUEST TO CHANGE NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FORM

    League Applauds EAC Decision: “This Ruling Protects Voters and Voting Rights”

     Washington, DC – The League of Women Voters of the U.S., Arizona and Kansas applauded yesterday’s decision by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to reject requests from the states of Arizona and Kansas to modify the national mail-in voter registration form to require voters to provide documentary proof of citizenship with that form.

    “This is the correct decision by the EAC, plain and simple,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. “This ruling is consistent with the U.S. Constitution and one that reinforces critical protections for voters and voting rights.”

    “The Arizona and Kansas requests are at odds with the very purpose and goals of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA),” added MacNamara. “The NVRA was enacted in order to provide for a simple voter registration form, promote national uniformity in the voter registration process, increase voter registration and participation, and facilitate large-scale voter registration drives by groups like the League.”

    Earlier this month, the League of Women Voters of the United States joined with the League of Women Voters of Arizona and the League of Women Voters of Kansas to file comments with the EAC regarding these requests made by the Secretaries of State of Arizona and Kansas. Previously the League filed a motion and was allowed to intervene in Kobach, et al v. U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The League is represented in this case by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, as well as pro bono counsel Kirkland & Ellis LLP and David G. Seely of the law firm Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch, LLC.

    Last year, the Supreme Court held in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., that Arizona’s requirement that voter registrants provide documentary proof-of-citizenship was preempted by the NVRA with respect to applicants using the Federal Form. Kansas and Arizona seek to overturn that court decision.

    “We are very pleased with the EAC's decision because the assertions by our Secretary of State regarding registration and voting by ineligible persons in Arizona do not stand up to scrutiny and do not support the changes they are trying to make to the form,” said Robyn Prud’homme-Bauer, President of the League of Women Voters of Arizona (LWVAZ).

    “The Kansas League is delighted with this ruling,” said Dolores Furtado, President of the League of Women Voters of Kansas (LWVKS). “We have experienced first-hand the harmful effects that documentary proof of citizenship requirements have had on voters and voter service organizations like ours in Kansas. This decision protects Kansas voters.”

    “The League has worked tirelessly to remove barriers from voting and advocate on behalf of the voting rights of all Americans,” MacNamara concluded. “This decision is another important win for voters and voting rights.”

    CONTACT: Kelly Ceballos, 202-263-1331, kceballos@lwv.org

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    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • Urge Congress to Repair the Voting Rights Act

    This afternoon Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), John Conyers (D-MI), Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Lewis (D-GA), and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced common sense legislation that would repair and restore the Voting Rights Act. This bipartisan effort to fix the damage done by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder is necessary to restore and protect the rights of voters across the country.

  •  Introduction of Voting Rights Amendment Act in House Meaningful Step

    League: “Balanced Bill Embodies Common Sense Approach to Protecting Voting Rights”

    Washington, D.C.  – Today, the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (VRAA) was introduced by Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), John Conyers (D-MI), Bobby Scott (D-VA) and John Lewis (D-GA) in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bipartisan legislation was carefully crafted to protect the rights of all voters from discrimination and repair the damage to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 inflicted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder.

    “The League is pleased that Congress has taken action and introduced strong legislation on behalf of all voters’ rights,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, national President of the League of Women Voters. “We are encouraged that lawmakers have come together – across the aisle – to forge workable and common sense solutions to protect voting rights against discrimination.”

    “The Sensenbrenner bill is a balanced and reasonable approach to tackling the very real problem of discrimination that continues to plague our nation in so many forms, including at the ballot box,” MacNamara said. “Already, in the few months since the Supreme Court’s Shelby decision, dozens of cities and towns made changes to their election laws and voting processes, many of which may very well keep eligible voters from being able to vote.”

    “Each and every eligible American voter deserves to be treated fairly at the ballot box,” said MacNamara. “When you make the work of governing about fairness and not about politics and winning elections, all voters win. That is what has happened with the VRRA: elected leaders coming together to ensure that everyone has an equal right and equal access to vote,” MacNamara stated.

    “The Supreme Court’s Shelby decision was a profound disappointment,” concluded MacNamara, “but at the time we also believed it would be a great call to action by those who believe in free and fair access by every eligible voter. Today, Congress has begun to act with this important first step and voters must also act and vote at every opportunity.”

    Contact: Kelly Ceballos, kceballos@lwv.org, 202-263-1331

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    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • League Fights to Protect Voting Rights in Ohio

    Editorial Note: This blog post was written with the assistance of the League of Women Voters of Ohio.

  • The League of Women Voters of the United States joined with the League of Women Voters of Kansas and the League of Women Voters of Arizona to file comments with the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) regarding the requests made by the Secretaries of State of Kansas and Arizona to modify the national mail-in voter registration form to include requirements that applicants supply documentary proof of citizenship.

  • 2013 End of Year Slideshow

    2013 may not have been a federal election year, but it was still an important year for voting and elections, which means that League volunteers, members, staff and supporters worked tirelessly once again Making Democracy Work®.

  • Vote Here yard sign

    Last week, I blogged about how 2013 has been one of the most active years related to voting rights this country has ever seen. While there were many setbacks in the past twelve months there were some victories as well.

  • The League of Women Voters of the United States joined with the League of Women Voters of Kansas and the League of Women Voters of Arizona to file a brief on the merits of Kobach v. EAC in U.S. District Court.

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