• Forty-seven years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the historic Voting Rights Act (VRA) into law. But, the law is not just history; it remains critical to ensuring that every American can cast a ballot and have it counted. Even as we celebrate the VRA, unnecessary and costly new state voting laws remind us that voter suppression and intimidation tactics continue to plague our nation.

  • Last week, the trial over the Pennsylvania voter photo identification law started in state court. The proceedings are wrapping up today, and boy has the trial had some interesting moments!

  • The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania (LWVPA) and other coalition organizations have sued the state of Pennsylvania in an effort to stop implementation of their voter photo ID law.

  • League Joins Case in Support of Voting Rights / Department of Justice

    Washington D.C. - This week a three-judge panel in Washington, D.C. is hearing arguments in a case brought by the State of Texas seeking to overturn a U.S. Department of Justice (US DOJ) decision to deny pre-clearance of Texas’s  photo voter ID law.  The League of Women Voters of Texas (LWVTX) has joined the lawsuit in support of the US DOJ position.

    “The importance of this case cannot be overstated: It will be a landmark case for voting rights in America,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. (LWVUS). The League in Texas and other states around the country are fighting against these voter suppression laws and will continue to do so until every eligible citizen is guaranteed their right to vote and have their vote counted.”

    Earlier this week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder joined the League in calling these photo ID laws a “poll tax.” “Voters who have voted for years will now be required to jump through hoops and be asked to pay for underlying documentation in order to get the required photo ID to vote. This is a poll tax plain and simple,” said Linda Krefting, president of the Texas League.

    “Should this law be allowed to stand it will have a detrimental impact on the rights of voters across the state,” said Krefting The state of Texas has not been able to find one instance of voter impersonation at the polls in Texas compared with court testimony that finds 1.4 million Texans without the necessary photo ID to vote. The ‘cure’ Texas has forced on voters is worse than the ‘illness’,” said Krefting.

    Concluded MacNamara:  “Today we are experiencing an unprecedented attack on voting rights. This assault on voters is sweeping across the country, state by state, and is one of the greatest self-inflicted threats to our democracy in our lifetimes. These new laws threaten to silence the voices of those least heard and rarely listened to in this country – the poor, the elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, the young and people with disabilities. We stand with the League of Women Voters of Texas and all of the other states where the right to vote is threatened. We will continue the work we have done for more than 90 years – protecting the right to vote and expanding the franchise.”

    CONTACT:  Kelly Ceballos, KCeballos@lwv.org or Anita Privett, anita.privett@gmail.com

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  • Now that most state legislatures are out of session for the year the battle against voter ID moves from the statehouse to the courts. The League and its allies were successful in keeping voter ID bills from passing in a number of states including Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia.

  • The Court's decision today in a pivotal campaign finance case has repeated its naïve, uninformed errors from its Citizens United decision.  The First Amendment is meant to protect essential freedoms, not as a weapon to destroy American democracy.  We look forward to the day when the Supreme Court majority deals with facts rather than imposing their own ideological views.

  • If you missed it late on Friday, watch national League President Elisabeth MacNamara discuss the recent victory for voters' rights in Florida and the fight to protect all eligible voters on MSNBC's Politics Nation.  On Thursday, a judge struck down part of Florida's new election law, which had threatened to institute, "a harsh and impractical" requirement for independent groups such as the League of Women of Florida that register voters in the Sunshine state.

  • The right to vote is under attack in too many states across the country.  We believe every eligible citizen should be able to register to vote and every voter should be able to cast a ballot.  The Voter Empowerment Act (VEA), introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday, takes important steps to protect voters.  The League’s full statement outlines our support for the goals of the VEA.

  • Washington, DC (May 17, 2012) – The League of Women Voters supports the goals of the new Voter Empowerment Act introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

    “The right to vote is under attack in too many states across the country,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, national President of the League of Women Voters.  “For example, in Florida there have been cutbacks in early voting and rigid new restrictions on community-based voter registration drives have been imposed,” she said. 

    “We believe every eligible citizen should be able to register to vote.  Every voter should be able to cast a ballot,” MacNamara said.

    “The Voter Empowerment Act takes important steps to protect voters, including a new system for online voter registration and improvements in the provisional balloting system to ensure that all eligible citizens have their votes counted,” according to MacNamara. 

    “We are facing an assault on voters that is one of the greatest self-inflicted threats to our democracy in our lifetimes.  They threaten to silence the voices of those least heard and rarely listened to in this country – the poor, the elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, the young and persons with disabilities,” MacNamara said.  “It is important for members of Congress to stand up against assaults on our voting rights,” she added.

    “The League of Women Voters has fought for voting rights for all citizens for the past 92 years and will continue the fight as long as this most fundamental right is under attack,” MacNamara stated. “We are hopeful that the wave of voter suppression laws will be struck down in each and every state and come November every eligible citizen will be able to exercise their right to vote and have their vote counted without additional, unnecessary and costly barriers. We stand ready to continue our efforts to defend voters and their right to vote and look forward to working with members of Congress in doing this,” concluded MacNamara.

    CONTACT: Kelly Ceballos, kceballos@lwv.org

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