I hope you will indulge this very personal (even more than usual) posting, but as my time at Project Vote draws to a close, I hope I’m allowed to let my thoughts roam freely.
As I think about retiring from a career of progressive advocacy, the concept of TIME keeps coming up. There are many words and popular expressions that allude to time, either literally or by implication. This is a survey of some of them.
“Progressive” itself is a way of denoting a forward direction, but the word also invokes time. It looks to the future and connotes movement toward it. It is also used in contradistinction to “revolutionary,” a word that I, as a child of the 60s, used quite liberally. (Liberal, by the way, being a synonym for progressive.) Progressive advocacy is a gradual, measured way of achieving change for the better, and I am proud to have made it my career.
RALEIGH, N.C. – Citing clear evidence that the state of North Carolina is failing its obligation to provide low-income residents with a meaningful opportunity to register to vote at public assistance agencies, today Democracy North Carolina, Action NC, and the A. Philip Randolph Institute (“APRI”) sent a pre-litigation notice letter to Kim Strach, Executive Director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections (“NCSBE”), as well as Dr. Aldona Wos, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”).
One of Project Vote’s core approaches to pursuing the empowerment of marginalized and underrepresented voters is through its Public Agency Registration Project. In 1993 Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Section 7 of the NVRA mandates that state public assistance agencies such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program offer voter registration opportunities when a client applies for benefits, renews benefits, or submits a change of address. The NVRA was enacted with the goal of strengthening participation among historically underrepresented populations and Section 7 is especially important because it was designed to provide many low-income Americans with a convenient avenue to political participation. Project Vote works with state agencies and, when necessary, initiates legal action in order to ensure compliance with the NVRA.
WASHINGTON, DC — Since January, lawmakers on the state and federal levels have introduced over 180 bills that would change state and federal voting laws.
“Three months into 2015, the battle for the 2016 election is already being fought in legislatures across the country,” said Michael Slater, executive director of the voting rights nonprofit Project Vote.
According to a new report released today by Project Vote, we have seen an increase in efforts to make voting easier and more convenient in the wake of last year’s 72-year low in voter turnout. However, with newly emboldened partisans in office and a major election a year and a half away, it’s hard to say how far these reform efforts are likely to go.
Every now and again, we find hard evidence that voter turnout really, truly matters, that a community in turmoil can find a collective voice and make change.
In an April 7, 2015 city council election, voters in Ferguson, Missouri—a community shaken and thrust into the national spotlight last August when 18 year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer—came out in record-breaking numbers to add two more African-Americans to the six member city council. Now, in this majority Black community, the voters have elected a city council that is beginning to better reflect their community.