For Members » Conventions

Voting Rights

WHEREAS:

            The inalienable right for adult American citizens to vote is under attack by those who want to limit voting access under the guise of voter fraud prevention; and

WHEREAS:

            Prior to the 2012 elections, 180 bills were introduced in 41 states to make it harder for Americans to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot; and

WHEREAS:

            Before those elections, 27 voter suppression laws in 19 states were passed that require voters to present government-issued photo IDs in order to vote and documentary proof of citizenship to register; and

WHEREAS:

            More than 11 percent of citizens lack a government-issued photo ID and more than 7 percent have no proof of citizenship; and

WHEREAS:

            The lack of required documentation is prevalent among African-Americans, Latinos, other people of color, the elderly, students and people with disabilities; and

WHEREAS:

            Other voter suppression laws shortened time periods for early voting and repealed same-day voter registration; and

WHEREAS:

            Voting rights advocates argue that these laws were passed because 30 percent of all votes cast in the 2008 general election were cast before Election Day and Election Day registration increases voter turnout by up to 12 percent—not because of the statistically insignificant incidence of voter fraud; and

WHEREAS:

            The U.S. Supreme Court gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in a 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, eliminating a vital tool used to protect voters from losing their right to vote; and

WHEREAS:

            In 2014, at least 48 voter suppression bills in 18 states have been introduced or carried over from 2013; and

WHEREAS:

            Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed bills to cut days off of the early voting period and eliminate the brief window when voters could both register and vote early on the same day; and

WHEREAS:

            These efforts notwithstanding, the trend appears to have shifted toward expanded voting access; and

WHEREAS:

            The bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration released a set of recommendations to fix many of the problems plaguing U. S. voting systems; and

WHEREAS:

            In response to the Supreme Court decision in Shelby, Congressional Republicans and Democrats introduced a bipartisan bill to strengthen the Voting Rights Act; and

WHEREAS:

            By the end of January 2014, at least 190 bills to expand voting access had been introduced in 31 states, 12 of which would expand voting access in California, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York and Washington; and

WHEREAS:

            The Illinois legislature overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment which would ban any form of voter suppression in Illinois, leaving it up to voters to decide whether or not to approve the amendment in November.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

            That the International Union, its affiliates and members continue to engage in and support efforts on the federal, state and local levels to guarantee the constitutional right to vote for AFSCME members, our families and other citizens; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That the International Union, its affiliates and members join with like-minded organizations and individuals in support of congressional approval of the Voting Rights Amendments Act of 2014; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME  affiliates and members join allied organizations in efforts to prevent the passage of or repeal legislation at the state level designed to make it harder for citizens to vote; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME affiliates and members join allied organizations at the state level to secure passage of legislation and constitutional amendments designed to increase electoral participation and to protect those historically disenfranchised.

SUBMITTED BY:
John Lyall, President and Delegate
Terri Robinson, Recording Secretary
AFSCME Council 8
Ohio

Get news & updates from AFSCME