5 Voter Rights Orgs You Should Follow

Hey, the Founders of the US tell us that everyone’s equal in the eyes of the law, meaning that citizens have the right to vote. However, there are politicians who don’t like that, and they’re attacking the integrity of the election by making it hard for people to vote. Fortunately, there are some organizations doing really good work to ensure that any barriers to voting are removed for everyone who’s got the right to vote.

We also gotta vote and make sure the politicians hear our voices and know we count and we matter.

I’d like you to help out all Americans fulfill what I feel is an actual duty to our families, neighborhoods, and the country. Check out these organizations, register to vote, and maybe ask your neighbor if they’re registered, too. It’s pretty simple to vote by mail, nowadays, if allowable. (I’ve done so for most of the last twenty something years.)

5 voter rights orgs you should follow, in no particular order:

1. Voto Latino (disclaimer: I’m on their Advisory Board)

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Voto Latino is a nonpartisan organization that empowers Latino Millennials to claim a better future for themselves and their community. United by the belief that Latino issues are American issues and American issues are Latino issues, Voto Latino is dedicated to bringing new and diverse voices to develop leaders by engaging youth, media, technology and celebrities to promote positive change.

Why it Matters:

• There are roughly 15 million American Latino youth in the U.S., but only a small fraction vote.
• 50% of all eligible Latino voters are under 40 and 33% are between 18 and 34.
• By 2050, Latino youth are expected to comprise 29% of the U.S. youth population.
• 66,000 American Latinos turn 18 every month.
• 90% of American Latinos under 29 consume information in English.
• Latinos make up more than 10% of the electorate in 11: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada and Texas.

2. League of Women Voters

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The League of Women Voters is a citizens’ organization that has fought since 1920 to improve our government and engage all citizens in the decisions that impact their lives. They operate at national, state and local levels through more than 800 state and local Leagues, in all 50 states as well in DC, the Virgin Islands and Hong Kong.

Formed from the movement that secured the right to vote for women, the centerpiece of the League’s efforts remain to expand participation and give a voice to all Americans. They do this at all three levels of government, engaging in both broad educational efforts as well as advocacy. Their issues are grounded in our respected history of making democracy work for all citizens.

3. The Brennan Center for Justice

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The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve our systems of democracy and justice. They work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. The Center’s work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from racial justice in criminal law to Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism. A singular institution — part think tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group, part communications hub — the Brennan Center seeks meaningful, measurable change in the systems by which our nation’s governed.

4. Rock the Vote rock the vote

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Rock the Vote is the largest non-profit and non-partisan organization in the US driving the youth vote to the polls. Fusing pop culture, politics, and technology, Rock the Vote works to mobilize the millennial voting bloc and the youth vote, protect voting rights, and advocate for an electoral process and voting system that works for the 21st century electorate.
Since 1990, Rock the Vote has revolutionized the use of pop culture, music, art and technology to inspire political activity. Now, for almost 25 years, Rock the Vote has pioneered ways to make voting easier by simplifying and demystifying voter registration and elections for young adults.

They were early advocates for states allowing voters to register by mail and were the first organization to use a toll-free number to register voters over the phone. They were also the first organization to create a voter registration tool to register voters online.

5. Fair Elections Legal Network

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The Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN) is a national, nonpartisan voting rights and legal support organization whose mission is to remove barriers to registration and voting for traditionally underrepresented constituencies and improve overall election administration through administrative, legal, and legislative reform as well as provide legal and technical assistance to voter mobilization organizations.

 

 

Thanks! And please comment with other groups doing good work…My team and I will check ’em out, and maybe add them to this Resource List that we’re compiling.

Are You Ready to Vote?

Folks, we’re only 2 weeks away from National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), on September 23. In 2008, 6 million Americans didn’t vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. In 2014, Your Vote!NVRD’s continuing their efforts to make sure everyone has a fair chance to vote.

And please remember that the Declaration of Independence reminds us that everyone should be treated equally under the law, and that includes voting rights.

You may wonder what NVRD will actually accomplish, and according to their site, the purpose of this day is to:

      • Register Voters: A network of a thousand orgs operating on the ground and through social media will register tens of thousands of voters in the field and tens of thousands more online while also receiving pledges to vote from those already registered.
      • Mobilize Volunteers: By partnering with nonprofits not usually engaged in voter registration drives, and amplifying existing drives through event-based recruitment and cultural outreach, National Voter Registration Day will bring together thousands of volunteers across the nation to register voters.
      • Educate Eligible Voters: Millions of voters need to register and re-register every year. By utilizing new technology and leveraging partners, we’ll educate more Americans than ever before, bringing new voters into the fold.
      • Change the Conversation: National Voter Registration Day will be an opportunity to put our differences aside and celebrate the rights that unite us as Americans; democracy.

celebrating democracy

I also want to acknowledge all the folks who really have their boots on the ground. National Voter Registration Day has been made possible in part by a working group of orgs providing coordination and support. These organizations include, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Education Fund, Bus Federation Civic Fund, Fair Elections Legal Network, League of Women Voters, Nonprofit VOTE, Rock the Vote, and Voto Latino.

They’ve also created a Partner Toolkit, which is a collection of resources for you to use in an effort to organize events and activities leading up to National Voter Registration Day 2014.

The Toolkit includes a field guide, communications guide, graphics, and legal guides by state, please check that out. Make sure to share this stuff, and use the hashtag, #CelebrateNVRD.

And, if you’re planning an event, make sure to add it to NVRD’s event directory so others in your community can be aware and get involved.

In the past, I created a list of reasons I think it’s important to vote. Check it out, and let me know if you have anything to add.

Are you registered to vote?

5 Reasons We Need Social Change

Folks, I started this craigconnects thing because I really want to use tech to give a real voice to the voiceless, and real power to the powerless. Ever justicesince starting craigconnects, I’ve created a list of issues areas that I’m really focusing on. It’s important that we work together, as a community, and collaborate to create real social change. You can’t change the world from the top down.

Here are just 5 (of many) reasons we need social change:

  1. We seem to throw money into food and housing, yet a lot of folks are still in need, so something isn’t working right. This includes military families and veterans. We need to do it better.
  2. We need to improve the reentry experience of war veterans into the American economy and society. Less than 1% of Americans currently serve in the military, so this is a really important conversation to have. The conversation has already been started, we just need to keep collaborating and working toward our goals.
  3. Journalism Ethics. We need to ensure that journalism fulfills its role as the heart of democracy and its mission of seeking truth and building trust. The press should be the immune system of democracy. Turns out that what we have now are a lot of ethics codes and policies, but very little accountability. This is something I often discuss when I talk about trustworthy journalism in a fact-checking-free world. And this is also why I joined the board of Poynter, and work with the Columbia Journalism Review, Center for Public Integrity, and Sunlight Foundation.
  4. There are some real bad actors out there trying to implement laws to stop eligible people, including women, the elderly, and disenfranchised communities, from voting. What I learned in high school civics class is that an attack on voting rights is virtually the same as an attack on the country. We need to step up and remind folks that the Founders of the US tell us that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, meaning that citizens have the right to vote. And we need to protect that right.
  5. Today, women represent 12% of all computer science graduates. In 1984, they represented 37%. This number should be increasing, and we can change that. It’s important that we encourage girls and women to get involved in tech. Here’s more on the importance of girls in tech.

Personally, I’m a nerd, and feel that life should be fair, that everyone gets a chance to be heard, and maybe to help run things. Sure, life isn’t fair, but that won’t slow me down. A nerd’s gotta do what a nerd’s gotta do.

Note to self: JUST LISTEN. That is, don’t ALWAYS attempt to solve the problem, SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO LISTEN. (Courtesy of  “You Just Don’t Understand” by Deborah Tannen.)

Some Things You Should Know About Voter ID Laws

Voter ID Laws: solving a nonexistent problem with more government and more expense.

Folks, we’re almost a month away from National Voter Registration Day, on September 23, 2014, and less than 3 months away from elections, and that means that you should be aware of your rights.

Elections for US States Senate will be November 4, 2014. These elections mark 100 years of direct elections of U.S. Senators.

The elections to the US House of Representatives, elections for governors in states and territories, and many state and local elections will also be held on November 4, 2014.

The Declaration of Independence reminds us that we’re all equal under the law, but there are politicians who find that threatening.

There are some real bad actors out there trying to implement laws to stop eligible people, including women, the elderly, and communities of color, from voting. What I learned in high school civics class is that an attack on voting rights is virtually the same as an attack on the country.

According to the ACLU, 30 states require voters to present identification to vote in federal, state and local elections.

The Founders of the US tell us that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, meaning that citizens have the right to vote. However, there are politicians who don’t like that, and they’re attacking the integrity of the election by making it hard for people to vote.

But there are some orgs out there who are doing real good work, like the Advancement Projectthe Brennan Center for Justice, Rock the Vote, League of Women Voters, and Voto Latino, they really have their boots on the ground when it comes to protecting the voting rights of us all.

49 yrs ago, LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act (VRA) to protect all voters. And, hey, maybe it’s time Congress does the same. It’s been over a year since the Supreme Court gutted the VRA. Congress needs to protect all voters by passing the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA) to restore the VRA and provide modern, nationwide protections against discrimination at the polls.

It’s important to know when the Voter Registration deadline is in your state, you can find out here.

Disenfranchising voters is not a new thing, but has been happening across the country for some time now. A while back, my team and I created an infographic about the impact of voter suppression. And we also put together a list of voting resources; please check it out, and share any helpful resources that you think are missing in the comment section.

Texas government working hard to prevent women from voting

Folks, we are gearing up for midterm elections and that means that you should be aware of your rights. wendy-davis-e1382019677722

There are some real bad actors out there trying to implement laws to stop eligible people, including women, from voting. What I learned in high school civics class is that an attack on voting rights is virtually the same as an attack on the country.

The New Civil Rights Movement writes, as reported by Think Progress:

“as of November 5, Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name. It sounds like such a small thing, but according to the Brennan Center for Justice, only 66% of voting age women have ready access to a photo document that will attest to proof of citizenship. This is largely because young women have not updated their documents with their married names, a circumstance that doesnʼt affect male voters in any significant way. Suddenly 34% of women voters are scrambling for an acceptable ID, while 99% of men are home free.”

Some politicians have tried to manipulate voting laws for their benefit, that’s not right. We need integrity in our elections and voting that’s free, fair, and accessible.

It’s up to us all to ensure the integrity of our voting process by getting registered, speaking up against voter ID laws and the attack on voting rights, and to encourage everyone to vote, regardless of ethnicity or gender.

Disenfranchising voters is not a new thing, but has been happening across the country for some time now. Last year, I worked with some good folks to create an infographic about impact of voter suppression.

Capture

My team and I have compiled a list of voting resources; please check it out, and share any helpful resources that you think are missing in the comment section.

Have voting questions? We have answers…

Hey there, folks – here’s the deal: It’s really important that we get out there and vote. But there are some steps that you’ll need to take to get there. It’s pretty simple though, and I’ve been working with a bunch of organizations who are doing real good work and really have their boots on the ground.

 

My team and I have created a Voting Resource page at http://craigconnectsvoters.org/ for anyone who is looking for answers, or where to turn when it comes to voting this November.

 

I really feel seriously that this really is our civic duty, a shared responsibility to our communities and families to vote.

 

Register to vote, and commit to vote. It’s easy to do, and you have lots of options and resources.

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