Democrats launch effort to stop rampant voter suppression ahead of 2020


Democratic governors are partnering with Stacey Abrams to ensure voting rights are protected.

The Democratic Governors Association is partnering with Stacey Abrams to protect voting rights and fight voter suppression ahead of the 2020 election.

The "Every State, Every Vote" initiative launched on Monday and will be co-chaired by Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon and Abrams, who founded Fair Fight, a nationwide organization focused promoting voting rights.

"Efforts to discourage and suppress voters — in voter registration, ballot access, or counting of votes — threaten our democracy and hold us back from the progress we seek," Abrams said in a press release about the launch.

"Our right to vote is our most fundamental right and I am proud to stand with the Democratic Governors Association to protect it," she added.

A website for the initiative lays out examples of specific actions taken by Democratic governors to increase access to voter registration and make it easier for citizens to cast ballots.

That list includes moves by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who signed legislation in 2019 to expand automatic voter registration in the state, which automatically registers anyone who signs up for Medicaid or gets a new driver's license or ID card; Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gov. John Carney of Delaware, who signed legislation in 2019 establishing more than a week of early voting in their respective states; and Gov. John Bel Edwards, who was recently reelected in Louisiana and signed legislation in 2018 allowing any individual who has been out of prison for five years to have their right to vote restored.

In addition to voting rights, the Every State, Every Vote program will highlight initiatives by Democratic governors focusing on the 2020 Census and redistricting efforts, in an effort prevent gerrymandering and create fair legislative districts.

"Every State, Every Vote will be a powerful initiative with Fair Fight so fair representation and fair elections will be the norm across the country," Brown said in a statement about the launch.

Fair Fight founder Abrams gained national prominence in her 2018 gubernatorial race in Georgia, narrowly losing to then-Secretary of State Brain Kemp. Abrams raised several significant issues related to voter suppression, including an effort by Kemp to hold up voter registrations of minority voters during his tenure in his office.

In 2019, Democratic groups launched lawsuits to stop voter suppression efforts in several Republican-led states, and have already notched a couple of major wins.

In Florida, a group of Democratic organizations won a lawsuit preventing Republicans from rigging future elections by listing all GOP candidates first on the ballot, a tactic that could provide an unfair 5% advantage for the party.

In Kentucky, the state Democratic party successfully sued to stop the state Board of Elections from putting more than 170,000 voters on an "inactive" list just months before a pivotal November election. Democrat Andy Beshear went on to win the race for governor in Kentucky.

Democratic groups filed lawsuits on issues ranging from early voting to absentee voting to ballot order in several additional states including North CarolinaMichiganGeorgiaArizona, and Texas.

"Democratic governors can be the strongest check against Republican efforts to suppress the right to vote and the strongest advocate for a progressive agenda that expands it," New jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, chair of the DGA, said in a statement.

"Heading into 2020, this partnership with Fair Fight is critical to ensure that Democratic governors and Democratic candidates can have the tools they need so every American citizen can exercise their right to vote."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.