Newsletter #11, October 2014 Legislator-Candidate Responses, Voter Suppression & More

Newsletter #11, October 2014

Did Your Legislator/Candidate Respond?

by Alice Woldt

Fix Democracy First is polling the current state legislators and candidates to ask if they will support a Joint Memorial to Congress urging passage of a Constitutional Amendment based on U.S. Senate Joint Resolution 19. For a list of legislators and candidates who have responded click HERE. If your legislator/s or candidate/s are not listed, you can help. Meet with them and ask them to support a memorial in the 2015 legislative session if they are elected. Download the commitment form they were asked to sign HERE. An alphabetized list on Fix Democracy First’s website (www.fixdemocracyfirst.org) will be updated as responses are received.

Hong Kong’s Problems Are Our Problems As Well

by Ken Dammand   

Hundreds of thousands of brave Hong Kong citizens filled the streets after the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (i.e. Mainland China) announced that an “Election Committee” would continue to choose the candidates in upcoming elections. Hong Kong’s citizens’ dreams of freedom and democracy, their hope for a fair economy, and their human dignity have been crushed in order to maintain the power of Mainland China.

This is not the Norman Rockwell democracy to which people everywhere aspire: a democracy in which any courageous soul can stand up in the crowd and have a fair chance of receiving its blessing to act as its representative.  Read More

It’s Easy to Give Sustaining Support!

by Debbie Livingstone

There are many ways to support Fix Democracy First! and its work to restore our democracy.  One of the best for most of us would be a monthly donation – $5, $10 or whatever you can afford – an automatic deduction from your checking or credit account.  It’s easy and liberating to become a valuable monthly donor, providing sustaining operating funds for FDF, and eliminating the fuss of making individual donations.  On the Donate webpage, select ‘recurring donation’ to set up yours.  That option is available whether you contribute to FDF! or the FDF! Education Fund.  You set it and forget it, and know that every month you’re supporting vital work that reflects your values.  Thank you!  To donate, click HERE.

Voter Suppression on the Rise

by Evelyn McChesney

States across the country are passing measures that make it harder and harder for Americans – particularly African Americans, the elderly, students and people with disabilities to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot.  These measures include requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote and proof of citizenship to register, cutting back on early voting, eliminating Election Day registration, new restrictions on voter registration drives and additional barriers to voting for people with criminal convictions.  For a short article and interactive map from the ACLU showing the states where the right to vote remains under siege, click HERE.

Recent Supreme Court Actions Perplexing

by Evelyn McChesney

News Flash just in late Thursday, October 9: In a startling late hour development, the Supreme Court stopped Wisconsin from implementing a voter ID law after an appeal by the ACLU! The Seventh U.S. Court of Appeals had found the law requiring voters to present photo IDs constitutional. (Although the District Court found it unconstitutional because it burdened the poor and minority voters who may lack such identification.)

However in a case from North Carolina the Court upheld a law designed to make it more difficult for voters to vote, despite the fact that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found it unconstitutional.  The Appeals Court permitted same-day registration , and also permitted counting ballots accidentally filed in the wrong precinct.  On Wednesday, October 8, the Supreme Court issued a brief, unsigned order which ended same day registration and ended counting ballots accidentally filed in the wrong precinct. Read More.

Good News in Ferguson Missouri!

by Evelyn McChesney

Outrage over the killing of Michal Brown by a police officer, has led to an increase in voter registration of 30%!  Of Ferguson’s 21,000 residents, 3,200 have registered to vote since the August 9 shooting, and nearly 5,000 new voters have registered in the county!  (About 12,000 residents were registered to vote in the last election, in April , 2014 and only 1, 484 actually voted.) “It could completely change the political landscape, the power structure, the decision making,” Brown family attorney Anthony Gray said.  “The service to the African American Community would almost quadruple because they would be viewed as a credible and legitimate voting block.” 

Mayday PAC Update

by Phil Harrison

Lawrence Lessig and the Mayday PAC continue to execute their bold plan for blunting the influence of big-money interests in Congressional elections by supporting candidates (from any party) who are committed to public financing.

While this may seem Quixotic, their results so far are impressive. They have currently raised over $8,343,315 from 63,699 donors nationwide to be spent on five House races and one Senate race – the South Dakota Senate race in which reform Democrat Rick Weiland is running against special-interest backed Republican Mike Rounds and Independent Larry Pressler, former Republican US Senator. Among the House races, Mayday is backing Republican Walter Jones in North Carolina. Congressman Jones is the only Republican House member who supports changing the way elections are funded. Read More