Voting Rights Institute
  • The GOP motto: If you can't beat 'em, rig the game

    In 2012, the Republican Party led a coordinated campaign to disenfranchise millions of voters through burdensome voter ID laws and shortened early voting periods—with the express purpose of sending Mitt Romney to the White House.

    They failed. Republicans lost their battle to suppress the vote in our nation's courts, and they lost on the issues at the ballot box, as African Americans, Latinos, and young voters turned out in record numbers. But instead of learning the lessons of 2012 and working to appeal to our growing electorate, Republicans are fixated on finding new ways to undermine the majority of voters and keep another Democrat from winning in 2016.

    Their philosophy is simple: "If you can't beat 'em, rig the game."

    Tomorrow in Virginia—where President Obama won decisively in 2012—a state Senate committee will vote on a bill that would rig the 2016 election in favor of Republican candidates by changing how the Electoral College appropriates votes.

    Currently in Virginia, Electoral College votes are allocated on a winner-take-all basis. But Republicans want them allocated by congressional district—ensuring their heavily gerrymandered Republican districts will deliver for the Republican candidate in the next presidential election.

    If this scheme had been in place in 2012, President Obama would have won only four out of 13 electoral votes in Virginia—even though he received 140,000 more votes from Virginia voters than Romney did.

    It's too extreme even for Virginia's Bob McDonnell, one of the most far-right governors in the country. A spokesman for McDonnell said last week, "The governor does not support this legislation. He believes Virginia's existing system works just fine as it is."

    But another Tea Party governor, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, thinks election rigging is an "interesting" idea—something "worth looking at."

    This is only the beginning. Virginia and Wisconsin are just the first of several states President Obama won in 2012 whose Republican governors and legislatures are considering rigging their Electoral College votes in favor of the GOP. And the head of the party, Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus, has endorsed the plan, saying, "I think it's something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at."

    But if we learned anything in 2012, it's that the American people will not stand by and watch Republican politicians manipulate our electoral process and trample on our hard-won voting rights. We'll fight to make our voices heard and our ballots counted—and oppose any and all attempts to rig our electoral process.

    For more information on the Republican-sponsored efforts to rig the next presidential election, sign up for updates from the Democratic Party.

  • A victory for democracy

    When Ohio’s early voting locations open during the next 21 days, they will be open to all voters on equal terms. That simple premise was effectively reaffirmed today in an order by the Supreme Court of the United States. What’s astounding is that Ohio Republicans passed laws and implemented restrictions attempting to dismantle the right of qualified voters to enter the voting booth while the polls are open. Obama for America and the DNC sued the state of Ohio for discriminately closing its polling places to certain voters while leaving them open and accessible to other voters during the final three days of early voting. And with today’s ruling, our lawsuit has prevailed.

    Even so, we should not miscast today’s ruling as a mere political score for the Obama campaign. In fact, it’s a major victory for voters. With today’s order, the Supreme Court has left in place two lower court decisions which require that equal protection of the laws be accorded all eligible voters. That’s also a victory for democracy.

    This latest triumph does not stand on its own. It represents a major milestone in our successful fight against Republican-sponsored restrictions on voting rights. Nationally, voting rights advocates have challenged other restrictive voting laws—and won. I’ve previously discussed these efforts in states such as Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, and New Hampshire.

    For the full meaning of these victories to be realized, however, we need to work at the grassroots level to make sure the rights of voters are protected on Election Day. If you are an attorney, paralegal, law student, or other voting rights advocate, join the Victory Counsel today. Together, we can ensure that all voters are able to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot and have it counted.

  • Heavy turnout in early voting shows importance of protecting voting rights

    While much of the nation’s attention is focused on November 6, the election has already begun in dozens of states that allow some form of early voting. As the numbers flow in, it’s becoming clear that turnout for early voting is notably higher than in 2008, particularly in key battleground states.

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  • With major victory in Ohio, voting rights momentum continues

    Just three days after a court blocked the implementation of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, a federal appeals court has sided with the Obama campaign and the DNC, rejecting Ohio Republicans’ attempt to implement unconstitutional restrictions on early voting. As a result of today’s decision, when Ohio early voting locations open during this election, they will be open to all voters on equal terms.

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  • Today’s decision is a victory for Pennsylvania voters

    Today, we achieved another significant victory in our historic efforts to protect the right to vote when a Pennsylvania judge blocked implementation of the state’s restrictive voter ID law for this year’s presidential election.

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  • Iowa: Vote early, and be the first

    Early voting in Iowa starts today. Iowans were the first to stand with President Obama in 2008, and now, you can be the first again—by voting early and encouraging at least one more person to join you.

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  • On National Voter Registration Day, celebrating another win in court

    Today is National Voter Registration Day, so it is especially fitting that yesterday, a New Hampshire judge blocked yet another attempt by Republican lawmakers to make voter registration more difficult. This ruling marks the latest victory in our effort to protect the fundamental right to vote.

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