Tag Archives: Voting Rights

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…

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…

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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Reform Movement Responds to Election Results

In response to the 2014 midterm election results, Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued a statement:

In the wake of yesterday’s election results, we welcome the resounding success of three key state ballot initiatives that will enhance America’s safety and well-being. In Washington State, all gun purchases will now require a common-sense background check. Thanks to Nebraska voters, the state’s minimum wage will increase to $9 by 2016. In fact, voters approved minimum wage increases in four states nationwide, all by wide margins. And in Massachusetts, voters said “yes” to Question 4, allowing workers at companies with 11 or more employees to earn paid sick leave. In each of these states, Reform rabbis and congregants working with the Religious Action Center’s staff were key to the initiatives’ passage – offering sermons, publishing op-eds, speaking with colleagues and friends, and voting.

Read the entirety of the statement here.

To learn more about our work on economic justice issues (including paid sick days and minimum wage) and the Jewish values that underpin our advocacy and programming, be sure to visit our issue page.

The Reform Movement has a long and storied history of advocating for civil rights, from our engagement in the Civil Rights Movement, to the fact that we are intimately acquainted with the effects of bigotry. Our ancestors knew both the continuing indignities of second-class citizenship and the constant fear of xenophobic violence. Our history teaches us that discrimination against any members of a community threatens the security of the entire community. Learn more about our work on civil rights, including election reform and voting rights.

Also, don’t forget to join our post-election briefing today, November 6, at 1:30 p.m. as our panel will discuss different perspectives on the prospects for critical human and civil rights issues in the upcoming Congress. Join in live here.

Vote signs, American flags

Placing Stumbling Blocks Before People with Disabilities: Voting Barriers and Disenfranchisement

Over the past couple of months, my colleagues and I have written about the barriers that prevent many Americans from voting. From voter ID laws to cuts in early voting, minorities are being disproportionately affected by changing voter laws. In addition, people experiencing homelessness,   survivors of domestic violence, and transgender Americans face additional barriers to voting. On top of all of these groups, people with disabilities also face unique challenges to voting in America.

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Why We Must Restore Voting Rights for the Formerly Incarcerated

We are less than one week away from Election Day- a day when we will make our voices heard and show politicians what our priorities are. Yet, about 5.85 million Americans will be denied the right to vote next week because of laws that prohibit people with felony convictions from voting. This obstacle to participation in the democratic process is exacerbated by racial disparities in the criminal justice system. As a result, 1 in every 13 African Americans is unable to vote, and in Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia, more than 1 in 5 black adults is disenfranchised. Read more…

When Personal Safety Proves an Obstacle to Voting

During my senior year of college, I worked as a courtroom advocate at the St. Louis County Domestic Violence Court, a division of the court system that deals exclusively with orders of protection in cases of domestic violence. I worked with petitioners to create or improve their safety plan (i.e. what strategies did they use to keep themselves as safe as possible from their abuser?) and to connect people to resources available in our community, like counseling programs, employment assistance, shelters and transitional housing, and legal services. Throughout my year at the court, I watched hundreds of petitioners share evidence of their abuse before the judge, who asked the same, simple question every time: “Does your abuser’s behavior make you fear for your safety?”

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Felon disenfranchisement

Transgender Disenfranchisement Highlights Broader Transgender Discrimination

In less than two weeks, millions of Americans will go to the polls and vote in the 2014 election. However, it is estimated that tens of thousands of transgender Americans could be denied their right to vote in this upcoming election. Transgender voter disenfranchisement highlights one of the many examples of transgender discrimination and the long road ahead for transgender equality.

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