Latest News: Moyers Talks to BC About "The Fight to Vote," and more
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Michael Waldman and Keesha Gaskins joined Bill Moyers to talk about how voter ID laws may make it harder for many to vote. They also spoke about the Center’s recent report that shows nearly 500,000 Americans could struggle to get a supposedly free ID. Other topics discussed included the legal battle in swing states and the rising influence of big money in elections. Watch the full interview.
Many students who leave home to attend college are often confused about where they can cast a ballot. The Brennan Center’s 50-state Student Voting Guide makes sure every student will have his or her vote count this November. This online resource can help students and advocates understand the diverse patchwork of state laws governing student voting. The interactive guide explains basic residency, registration, identification, and absentee voting requirements in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C.
West Virginia has a promising new system to fund judicial elections. But state officials simply are refusing to implement it. A lawsuit filed by the Brennan Center seeks to compel election officials to comply with the state’s public financing program. The Center represents Republican candidate for the Supreme Court of Appeals Allen Loughry, the only one of four candidates who opted to participate in the program. According to West Virginia’s law, participants receive additional funds when any non-participating candidate surpasses a spending threshold during the general election season. Loughry is eligible for approximately $145,000 in funds, but the State Election Commission has failed to release the monies. The Brennan Center, along with Marc E. Williams of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, asked the West Virginia Supreme Court to order state election officials to comply with their legal obligations and release the funds. The Brennan Center has published a series of reports on financing of judicial elections, including the New Politics of Judicial Elections and the Impact of Citizens United on Judicial Elections.
In a major victory for voting rights, a U.S. District Court Judge ordered the state of Texas to stop enforcing laws that restrict voter registration drives. In Florida, the Brennan Center protected groups conducting registration against a law with similar restrictions. A federal judge blocked key provisions of the Florida law. Read a blog about Texas’ Voter Discrimination Legacy here.
A Legislative Model to Dismante Debtors’ Prisons – Meghna Philip and Roopal Patel
- Illinois’ new Debtors’ Rights Act of 2012 ensures that debt collectors and lenders cannot send people facing consumer and civil debts to jail for payments they cannot afford. “People across the country facing criminal justice debt need such protections, too,” Patel and Philip write.
One Year Later, Shareholders Are Still in the Dark – Ian Vandewalker
- The Brennan Center released a report explaining the need for disclosure from corporations in the current climate of rampant spending on elections, and why the SEC needs to regulate it. “In addition to letting voters know who is trying to persuade them, disclosure requirements also deter campaign finance violations and expose the creative use of loopholes to get around those laws,” Vanderwalker writes.
Regina Kelly’s Story – Bruce Reilly
- Regina Kelly, a single mother whose story of wrongful arrest was the subject of the drama American Violet, was the keynote speaker at the Brennan Center’s Community-Oriented Defender Network Conference last month. Kelly’s story, Reilly writes, highlights the fact that in a plea-based criminal justice system, facts matter less than situations.
Alexandra Natapoff, author of Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice, visited the Brennan Center on July 26. She discussed the over-reliance on confidential informants in criminal prosecutions and how that has undermined the foundations of the criminal justice system. Click here for more pictures.
- Ohio is once again a battleground in the war on voting. Michael Waldman discussed Ohio's voting problems with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.
- “Top military and national security officials estimate that between 50 percent and 90 percent of classified documents could safely be released,” Liza Goitein wrote in an op-ed for CNN.com. She argues that in order to fix leaks in Washington, the government needs to fix its culture of secrecy and overclassification.
- An AP story examined how tougher voting laws could make it confusing—and harder for college students to vote, even though the Supreme Court ruled that students can vote in the students where they attend college. “Students should be registering in the communities that they feel are home — whether that's their parents' home or their apartment or their dorm room," Lee Rowland told the reporter.
- Michael Waldman joined former U.N. Ambassador and civil rights activist Andrew Young on WNYC’s the Brian Lehrer show to talk about voting rights on the 47th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.
- Voter fraud charges often aim to keep Democrats from voting, Juan Williams wrote in his column for Fox News. He cited the Brennan Center’s report, The Challenge of Obtaining Voter Identification.
- Thomas Giovanni participated in a roundtable discussion about the legal concerns of the stop-and-frisk debate on NY 1’s Inside City Hall.
- Liza Goitein talked to Scott Shane about the dangers of overclassification for this front-page New York Times story.
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