It’s Going Down in Salem, Albany, and Phoenix
Yep, you read that right. In the first three months of 2021, 47 states introduced bills to restrict voting. Click here to take action to stop voter suppression.
These state level attacks on voting rights are a crucial reminder that we can’t just keep our eyes on Congress and the White House. Democracy plays out in the halls of state legislatures every single day — and it’s where some of the toughest battles over our voting rights are being fought. That’s why, over the past six months, we’ve set our sights on a few states where the Stand Up America community could move the needle.
If you don’t live in one of these states, you may not be hearing from us about these fights regularly, which is why we wanted to pull back the curtain and give you a rundown of some of the things we’ve been working on.
Let’s dive in!
Not every bill introduced this year makes it more difficult to vote. New York has made a lot of progress on modernizing its elections in the past year. Thanks to grassroots pressure and advocacy by the Stand Up America community (2,000+ calls and emails!!), we successfully passed a bill that would permanently re-enfranchise nearly 43,000 New York citizens who have spent time in prison and returned to their communities.
We teamed up with Alliance of Families for Justice, Brennan Center, Brooklyn Voter Alliance, Citizen Action of New York, Parole Preparation Project, VOCAL-NY, and numerous other groups to pressure the legislature to do the right thing.
Ah, Arizona, the state that has really been keeping us busy. The Arizona state legislature has been in the headlines recently for introducing a record number of *terrible* voter suppression bills, all because the GOP is still mad about the 2020 election results. We’re talking voter purges, stricter voter ID laws, and proposed felony charges for helping loved ones vote — just bad.
Well, our team and our Arizona members sprung into action. We’re pushing back with everything we have, sending emails to lawmakers, making thousands of calls, and have spent the last two months tracking these poisonous bills’ every movement.
So far, we’ve been able to defeat all of them (some of the TWICE!), but the legislative session isn’t over yet, so we’re keeping the pedal to metal on this one.
Sometimes we get to fight for reforms that are historic, the kind that make our democracy work for us, and those are our favorites. In Oregon, 13,000 Oregonians with felony convictions who are currently incarcerated can’t register to vote, update their voter registrations, or vote in state or federal elections.
Well, we are trying to fix that. A historic new bill would re-enfranchise those 13,000 Oregonians currently incarcerated and would ensure that everyone in Oregon has a say in who is elected and what becomes law (i.e. true democracy). We’re making it happen by driving emails to legislators, urging them to set the standard for the rest of the country.
If we can make this happen, Oregon would be the first state to restore voting rights to people who are currently incarcerated, opening the door for activists to help restore the freedom to vote in states across the country.
And that’s not all! We’re also working with local partners to fight voter suppression legislation in Texas and pass universal vote-by-mail access in Nevada! There is a lot of good (and hard) work to be done. With many state legislatures going out of session by the end of June, we have no time to lose.
So now that you’ve had a look at everything that’s happening stateside, you probably want to know how you can help? We’re so glad you asked. Even if you don’t live in Arizona or Texas, there’s one bill moving through Congress that would stop many of the voter suppression bills moving in those states and require states to actually increase access to voting — the For the People Act!
The For the People Act would create national standards for voting and stop state-level voter suppression in its tracks. So, send a quick, pre-written email to your senator today and tell them you’re counting on the Senate to pass it!