This Week in the Fight to Vote – August 17-23

By Chris deLaubenfels, Director of Policy and Communications, Let America Vote

New Hampshire Gov. Sununu v. Democracy

This week, Granite State Gov. Chris Sununu continued his assault on democracy by vetoing a bill that would have removed unnecessary barriers for eligible New Hampshire voters. Democratic House Majority Leader Doug Ley criticized the veto: “The military personnel, students, and others affected by this bill live here, pay state taxes, support our local economy and actively contribute to their New Hampshire community.” 

The veto of SB 67 carried on a string of vetoes by Gov. Sununu of pro-voter, pro-democracy bills. Last week, Gov. Sununu vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have established an independent redistricting commission in New Hampshire. An independent districting commission would have helped prevent extreme partisan gerrymandering — but Gov. Sununu prefers maps rigged in Republicans’ favor.  This came after Gov. Sununu vetoed a bill that would have eliminated a poll tax levied against college voters.

Gov. Sununu is a clear and present danger to democracy in New Hampshire.

Poor Loser: Trump Continues Absurd Voter Fraud Claims

In a week full of racist policies, anti-semitic statements, and embarassing diplomacy, Pres. Trump still had time to repeat his lies about rampant voter fraud during the 2016 election and has suggested measures to suppress the vote. When asked about gun control issues on Sunday, Pres. Trump took the time to ramble on about a need for voter ID laws. Voter ID laws suppress the vote of minorities and disadvantaged citizens. Trump has said that voter ID laws are necessary because he bogusly claims that millions of people committed voter fraud in 2016 – his excuse for his popular vote defeat. 

In response to Pres. Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud, the Federal Elections Commission Chair Ellen Weintraub called out his lies. Weintraub stated that Pres. Trump’s statements were baseless and damaging to democracy. Pres. Trump is sowing fears to undermine the 2020 election. Widespread voter fraud is a myth and we need to push back when any politician tries to spread that lie. 

Ups and Downs for Voting Rights in Michigan

This week, in a clear showcase of priorities, the GOP attacked Michiganaders’ voting rights and Michigan Democrats fought against voter suppression.

On Thursday, Michigan Republicans filed a lawsuit seeking to end the independent redistricting commission passed overwhelmingly by Michigan voters in 2018. Independent redistricting commissions are a way to remove partisan politics from redistricting and ensuring fair maps. The people of Michigan voted to take redistricting into their own hands and to stop the GOP from rigging maps

In related news, after getting kicked out of Wisconsin’s governorship, Scott Walker has found a way to continue suppressing the vote of Americans as the head of the GOP’s gerrymandering efforts. Walker released a statement in support of the Michigan Republicans’ lawsuit – it looks like Walker isn’t satisfied only suppressing the vote in Wisconsin, he wants to suppress the vote nationwide.

This week’s lawsuit is actually the second lawsuit filed by Republicans attacking the independent redistricting commission. Michigan Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson have filed a motion to dismiss the first lawsuit.

On a good note, the Michigan Democratic Party established a full time voter protection director to fight back against voter suppression in Michigan. This is great news heading into 2020.

The Citizenship Fight Isn’t Over Yet

Even though Pres. Trump has been forced to stop his mission to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, the Trump administration is looking for ways to use citizenship data in state redistricting. A former member of Pres. Trump’s sham voter fraud commission has pushed for states to use citizenship data in redistricting. This unconstitutional voter suppression tactic would hurt districts with large immigrant populations and would be to the advantage of white, conservative Americans.

Also–in blatant disregard to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution–Pres. Trump threatened to issue an executive order to get rid of birth-right citizenship this week. He. Is. The. Worst.

Fighting Voter Suppression in Tennessee

Last Friday, voting rights advocates filed a lawsuit seeking to block the recently passed Tennessee law that restricts the ability of groups to register voters in the state. The legislation would significantly discourage voting rights organizations from registering voters in the state out of fear of criminal penalties and civil fines. Suppressing voter registration was the only explanation for this measure and we support the voting rights organizations fighting back!

Good News Out of Cali

California Democratic lawmakers are moving forward to restore voting rights to individuals impacted by the justice system who are on parole. This measure could restore the vote to tens of thousands of Californians. 

ENDORSEMENTS: Virginia is for Democracy Lovers

This Monday, Let America Vote PAC endorsed 32 voting rights champions for the Virginia General Assembly. We are proud to endorse these candidates who will fight for fair and free elections for Virginians. Let America Vote will be on the ground in Virginia this fall to help elect these exciting candidates in November! 

To learn more about the candidates and how to get involved to help turn Virginia blue, click here.