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Resolutions & Amendments

42nd International Convention - Las Vegas, NV (2016)

Protecting and Expanding the Right to Vote

Resolution No. 07
42nd International Convention
Las Vegas Convention Center
July 18 - 22, 2016
Las Vegas, NV


The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy and essential for the protection of all other rights. Protecting expanding the right to vote—ensuring that every eligible voter is able to make their voice heard—will improve our democracy by making elections fairer and elected officials more representative of the will of the American people; and


Fifty years after adoption of the Voting Rights Act, there is a renewed attack on voter rights as states pass voter suppression laws that create significant burdens for eligible voters trying to exercise the right most fundamental to democracy, the right to vote. Aided and abetted by the most partisan U.S. Supreme Court in our nation's history, states across the country have passed measures to make it harder for Americans—particularly black people, the elderly, students and people with disabilities—to exercise their right to vote. Southern states that were previously subject to preclearance requirements that have been voided by the Supreme Court have been most aggressive in creating barriers to democratic participation. Since the 2010 midterm election, 22 states and many local jurisdictions have enacted new restrictions designed to suppress and disenfranchise voters. These attacks on democracy include strict photo ID requirements, reduction or elimination of early voting and same-day registration, restrictions on voter registration drives, onerous new registration requirements, the elimination of pre­registration for young voters, gerrymandering and inappropriate purges of voter rolls; and


Numerous states and local jurisdictions have worked to suppress and disenfranchise young and minority voters by reducing the number of polling places, voting machines and poll workers in the communities where these voters live. Millennial and Generation X voters are three to four times more likely than baby boomers to wait in line to vote. African American and Hispanic voters are four and six times more likely than white voters, respectively, to wait more than 30 minutes to vote; and


Notwithstanding these efforts to suppress and disenfranchise voters, elected officials at the local, state and federal level are working to protect and expand the right to vote by opposing these restrictions and supporting automatic voter registration, online registration, the expansion of early voting and mail-in voting, and pre-registration for young voters; and


Since March 2015, the states of California, Oregon and West Virginia have enacted legislation to automatically register eligible voters that interact with government agencies, and

legislation or ballot initiatives to establish automatic voter registration have been introduced or are being considered in an additional 25 states and the District of Columbia. With 6.6 million eligible but unregistered voters in California alone, the enactment of these laws dramatically increases the opportunity for citizens to participate in our democracy. In Oregon, early results show a seven-fold increase in new voter registration compared with 2014; and


Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia offer or are in the process of implementing online voter registration, including 26 states which have enacted legislation or implemented online registration since 2013. Online registration has been demonstrated to reduce costs, improve the accuracy of voter rolls, and simplify the process for voters registering or updating their information; and


Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia offer some form of early voting, and an additional three states conduct elections through mail-in voting. Early voting and mail-in voting reduces lines on Election Day and ensures that every eligible voter has the opportunity to cast their ballot. Early voting is most effective when available for at least two full weeks prior to Election Day, and includes opportunities for voters to cast their ballot on evenings and weekends; and


Ten states and the District of Columbia allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, which has been demonstrated to increase youth engagement in the political process and participation in elections; and


Hillary Clinton is campaigning for the Democratic Party nomination on a platform to protect and expand voting rights nationwide by restoring the Voting Rights Act, requiring states to provide

early voting opportunities, and implementing automatic voter registration nationwide, which could add as many as 50 million voters to the rolls.


That AFSCME and its affiliates support local, state and federal efforts to protect and expand the constitutional voting rights of all citizens; and


That AFSCME and its affiliates join with like-minded organizations and individuals to oppose the enactment of any new restrictions designed to suppress and disenfranchise voters, especially young and minority voters, and to support the repeal of restrictions that have been enacted in recent years; and


AFSCME calls for Congress to restore Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act to counter the Supreme Court's activist, anti-democratic decision in Shelby County v. Holder; and



That AFSCME and its affiliates join with like-minded organizations and individuals to enact policies that will protect and expand the right to vote, including automatic and same-day voter registration, secure online registration and voting, the expansion of early voting and mail-in voting, the expansion and accessibility of polls, Election Day as a national holiday, and pre­registration for young voters.



Douglas Moore Jr., Executive Director and Delegate

UDW/AFSCME Local 3930



Ellen Larrimore, President and Delegate

Linda Loew, Recording Secretary and Delegate

Patricia Johnson, Treasurer and Delegate

Jeanette Hernandez, Delegate

Nick Poplawski, Delegate

Stacy Alikakos,Delegate

AFSCME Local 1989, Council 31