Tag Archives: Elections
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Progress in the States on Minimum Wage: Time for Congressional Action

In the midterm elections last month, when we saw successful votes to increase the minimum wage in four states (Alaska, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska).

It is exciting that all of these measures were approved and the Reform Movement applauded these efforts at the state level. Read more…

Reform Movement Clergy Join Interfaith Letter Asking for Voter Protection

This midterm election, only 36.4 percent of the voting eligible population cast ballots. The disappointing turnout is not surprising- midterm election turnout has been declining and is always lower than presidential elections. But, this year is particularly troubling because of the disenfranchisement that occurred across the country. Read more…

Women politicians

Money in Politics a Stumbling Block For Women and Minority Candidates

When Representative Alma Adams (D-NC-12) was sworn in earlier this month, we hit a milestone for women in politics: 100 women—the most in history—currently serve in Congress. There’s been a lot of conversation about how, despite the progress this figure symbolizes, 100 women out of 535 Senators and Representatives is not enough. Noticeably absent from this conversation, however, is a discussion of how money in politics affects who runs for office.

When we talk about money in politics, we tend to focus on candidates’ campaign expenditures. But the outsized influence corporate donors and wealthy individuals have on political campaigns affects far more than a candidate’s campaign events or the ads we see on TV in the final push before Election Day. Campaign contributions affect who can run for office in the first place, with money serving as a substantial barrier for women and people of color seeking to start a campaign. Read more…

Why Voting Rights Are Still Important, Even After Election Day

Voter turnout in this year’s midterm elections was the lowest voter turnout in any election cycle since World War II (when only 33.9 percent of eligible voters cast ballots). Only 36.4 percent of the voting eligible population cast ballots this year, continuing the trend of declining participation in midterm elections. Read more…

A Woman's Place is in the House...And the Senate

100 Women in Congress: When Underrepresentation Marks a Milestone

The end of the 113th Congress will mark a milestone for women in politics: for the first time in history, 100 women will serve together in Congress. After Democrat Alma Adams (NC-12) is sworn in tomorrow (replacing Mel Watt who left Congress to the run the Federal Housing Finance Agency), the 113th Congress will close out with 20 women Senators and 80 women Representatives, up from the 79 who served for most of the term.

In the 114th Congress, the number of women Senators will remain at 20, possibility rising to 21 should incumbent Mary Landrieu (D-LA) win her runoff in Louisiana, and anywhere from 81 to 85 women will serve in the House, depending on the outcome of races still too close to call. Read more…

A Step in the Right Direction for Criminal Justice Reform in California

Tuesday night was a big night for criminal justice reform advocates. Criminal justice reform has become a rare point of bipartisanship among some Democrats and Republicans, and a number of successful ballot initiatives across the country show that voters care about reforming the system too. The initiatives passed embrace the notion of “Smart on Crime,” a replacement for the old idea that being “tough on crime” was the best way to make communities safer. Attorney General Eric Holder explained that “by targeting the most serious offenses, prosecuting the most dangerous criminals, directing assistance to crime ‘hot spots,’ and pursuing new ways to promote public safety, deterrence, efficiency, and fairness – we can become both smarter and tougher on crime.” Read more…

Reproductive rights

Election Day Yields Mixed Results for Reproductive Rights

With the Election Day results in, the door is now open for serious threats to reproductive rights and health in the Volunteer State. Voters approved Amendment One by a margin of 53-47%, erasing language in the state constitution that defines abortion as a fundamental right. The state legislature now has the authority to “enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.”

Though the Amendment does not immediately change any abortion laws in Tennessee, lawmakers have already announced their intention to advance abortion restrictions when the legislative session begins in January. These could include dangerous and restrictive policies like the building regulations and physician admitting privileges in Texas (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider laws, known as TRAP laws), the mandatory 72-hour waiting period in Missouri, or the 20-week bans that limit abortion access in nine states. And, as Amendment One dictates, the legislature would not be required to include exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or where the mother’s life is in danger. Read more…

Rabbi David Saperstein and Nancy Zirkin discussing the election

Midterms 2014: What the Election Means for Jewish Social Justice

With a few days’ distance from the 2014 midterm elections, we are beginning to put the results of this election in context — for what it means for Congress, state legislatures, state laws and of course our work to advance social justice in the United States. The day after the election, Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center released a statement welcoming the resounding success of three key state ballot initiatives and noting our long history of working successfully with members on both sides of the aisle to advance shared priorities. We look forward to another exciting chapter in Washington, D.C. and in the states.

On Thursday, Rachel Laser moderated a conversation between RAC Director Rabbi David Saperstein, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Executive Vice President and Director of Policy Nancy Zirkin and RAC Senior Advisor Michael Horowitz. To watch the exciting conversation, visit our Election Day resources page, or watch it here:

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