Keeping The Promise, A Community Panel on the Voting Rights Act – Today

Late political calendar announcement:

Congressman Grijalva will host Keeping The Promise, A Community Panel on the Voting Rights Act on Wednesday, August 12 from 9:00-11:00 AM at the Tucson YWCA on the Voting Rights Act, the promise it continues to hold for countless Americans, and the ongoing efforts to undermine that promise 50 years after it became law.

WHO
Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva
Community advocates

WHAT
Keeping The Promise
A Community Panel on the Voting Rights Act

WHERE
Tucson YWCA
525 N. Bonita Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85745

WHEN
Wednesday, August 12
9:00 -11:00 AM

For more information, contact Cassandra Becerra at (520) 622-6788 or cassandra.becerra@mail.house.gov

Press Release (below the fold)
Grijalva Calls for Greater Voter Empowerment, Announces Community Panel on 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

TUCSON, AZ – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) released the following statement today marking the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

“When Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, he was well aware of the tremendous consequences the bill would have for America. Johnson knew that it would bring equity to the long suppressed African-American community, notably forced to undergo unjust scrutiny through practices like literacy tests in order to exercise their right to vote. The Voting Rights Act secured the sanctity of the ballot box for every American for just about 50 years.

“However, two years ago, the Supreme Court’s decision to rip away protections from discrimination within the Voting Rights Act has brought unease to communities who have fought for these protections and still need them. The right-wing fear-mongering claim that there is credible voter fraud has led to the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Republicans are purposefully making it harder for people to vote and 50 years after the Voting Rights Act, voters – largely communities of color, the disabled and LGBT individuals – are being turned away from the polls, unable to participate in our democracy.

“It is not only past-time for us to renew the Voting Rights Act, but to also lay the groundwork for greater voter participation by making voting more accessible for every American. We must empower our voters making automatic voter registration the law of the land across all 50 states, providing an early voting period in each state, and allowing same-day registration as an option for hard-working Americans who should not be jumping hoops to vote. Voting is a fundamental right in this country – let’s end its barriers and restore justice now.”

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One response to “Keeping The Promise, A Community Panel on the Voting Rights Act – Today

  1. CD 3 Congressman Raul Grijalva moderated a panel discussion with these presenters:
    Rev. Grady Scott, of Grace Temple Baptist Church
    Vince Rabago, former Asst. Attorney General, now attorney in private practice
    Stew Grabel, former Ombudsman at PCOA
    Sayanna Molina, aide at the Congressman’s office doing voter outreach

    Grijalva gave an overview of the Voting Rights Act (passed 8/6/65) celebrating its 50th anniversary, but the challenges it now faces with low voter participation, voting requirements being more restrictive in some states, re-authorization of the act.
    Grabel spoke of denial of legitimate voters in the American elections, how those in nursing homes/facilities or disabled have difficulty voting, as well as those born w/o documents/papers
    Rabago also spoke of voter restrictions for students, elderly, Native Americans, Dept. of Justice pre-clearance requirements and objections. He said there was no “conspiracy” to deny voting rights, that it was apparently openly done by some state legislatures (i.e. Arizona).
    Grady emphasized that voting is a RIGHT that should not be denied but had been historically to his African American community, and are crucial but frustrating for those who have difficulty being registered, some who have “lost hope”
    Molina finally talked about the youth vote, and voter outreach from her young generational perspective. She mentioned that early voting differs from state to state, that would be better to offer voter registration on the day of the election, or at any location to make voting easier.

    Question from Congressman Grijalva to the panel was about voter fraud (being nonexistent according to him), and voter turnout. Rabago responded with examples of how former S.C. Chief William Rehnquist had been in group that personally challenged Black/Latino voters at the polls in Arizona, and a modern example in Maricopa County where groups brought in sealed ballots in 2013, then the AZ legislature outlawed that practice later. Grady said that voting should be automatic as a privilege. Molina agreed that voting should be easier & modernized, made into a National Holiday for people to go out & vote.
    Two questions came from the audience about 1) voter registration lists being purged, and voters disqualified, and 2) convicted felons being disenfranchised as well. Rabago said that felons face a court process to restore their voting rights by a judge, which is costly and time consuming. Scott mentioned that 40% of the prison population is African American, and that 70% of African Am. households are run by single women. He recommended “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander.

    In attendance today: Isabel Garcia, retired Federal Public Defender; Keith Bagwell from District 5 Supervisor Elias’ office,and about 20 people. Amanda Shauger of KXCI taped this panel discussion.