Saturday, May 04, 2019

Sign the petition: DNC must include voting rights questions in presidential debates Yahoo / Inbox

Tell the Democratic National Committee:
"Ensure that Voting Rights related questions are key parts of 2020 Democratic presidential primary debates."
Voting is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans, yet voter suppression and gerrymandering continually threaten our democracy. Still, during the presidential debates in 2016 the moderators did not ask a single question to candidates on voting rights.
This is a crucial discussion, and the debates can provide a real opportunity to expand and clarify the discourse. In the primary season, unless the Democratic National Committee (DNC) prioritizes the issue, we know that news networks and other debate host organizations will not cover this subject.
However, after all we’ve been through and continue to go through when it comes to protecting our right to vote, we cannot consider presidential hopefuls fully vetted until they have been clear on how they intend to defend our voting rights. It’s essential that this is a front-and-center issue.
Just last week – six years after gutting the Voting Rights Act –  the conservative majority the Supreme Court positioned itself to uphold the Trump administration's addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census by making Orwellian argument that it’s critical for better enforcement of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).
The census has not asked the citizenship question on its main form since the Jim Crow era and including the question will have profound implications. And approving the question by leaning on the VRA would be a bitter irony for out communities of color that stand to lose the most from an unfair and inaccurate census.
A voting-rights focused debate would ensure that increasing obstacles to our communities' basic right to vote is a major part of the 2020 campaign agenda. It would highlight the conservative movement's relentless assault on our voting rights through systemic voter suppression, and it would also give voters a chance to assess various aspirants for the highest political office commitment to restoring the voting rights act.
We witnessed unconscionable voter suppression during the 2018 midterm elections, with officials actively working to make sure people were not able to vote.. For example, over fifty thousand black voters in Georgia didn't even get to vote in 2018 because Brian Kemp  – the current Governor – used his position as Georgia Secretary of State to purge them off the voting rolls to ensure his victory. Another example is how North Dakota’s state government passed a restrictive voter ID law to make insufficient the types of ID most of the state’s Indigenous population uses. And in North Carolina, there were 20% fewer early voting locations than there were in 2014.
Our Respect My Vote! campaign continues to push for efforts to ensure every citizen can participate in the electoral process and each ballot counts equally. There are solutions that exist -- including automatic voter registration and expanding early voting -- but it all starts with making sure this issue is at the forefront of the public dialogue. We need your help to make sure it is, add your name.
It’s vital to make voting rights a major issue for 2020. The voters demand our candidates assure that every American has access to this fundamental exercise, and we want to hear them discuss this – it’s the foundation of our democracy and it must be a forefront issue.
For future generations,
Rev Yearwood
President & CEO
Hip Hop Caucus
Hip Hop Caucus1638 R Street, NW #120, Washington, DC 20009
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