Nearly 50 years ago, with Martin Luther King Jr. standing beside him, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law to protect African-Americans and other minorities from racist policies that made it harder for them to register to vote and participate in the political process.
But last summer, the right-wing ideologues on the United States Supreme Court, in the Shelby County v. Holder decision, gutted the Voting Rights Act, ending 40 years of protection for minorities against discriminatory and unfair attempts to limit voting based on one’s race.
Fortunately, Representatives John Conyers, John Lewis and others have now introduced legislation that would restore and modernize the Voting Rights Act for the 21st century. We need to stop Republicans in states around the country from enacting racist voter ID and voter suppression laws. Passing the Voting Rights Amendment Act now is the best way to do it.
“The Voting Rights Act (VRA) is one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation ever passed and is vital to our commitment to never again permit racial prejudices in our electoral process. It began a healing process that ameliorated decades of discrimination and helped distinguish a democracy that serves as an example for the world. Free, fair, and accessible elections are sacrosanct, and the right of every legal voter to cast their ballot must be unassailable. The VRA broke from past attempts to end voter discrimination by requiring federal preclearance of changes to voting laws in areas with documented histories of discrimination. There is no acceptable remedy for an unfair election after the fact. Section 5 of the VRA was the only federal remedy that could stop discriminatory practices before they affected elections.
Shelby County vs. Holder severely weakened the election protections that both parties have fought to maintain. The Court disregarded years of work by Congress. In a 5-4 decision, the Court eliminated the VRA’s formula for determining which areas are covered by section 5. The result is that the pre-clearance requirement remains, but it no longer applies anywhere except in the handful of locations currently subject to a court order. By striking down Section 4, the Court presented Congress with both a challenge and a historic opportunity. We are again called to restore the critical protections of the act by crafting a new formula that will cover jurisdictions with recent evidence of discrimination.
The Voting Rights Amendment Act is bipartisan, bicameral, and compliant with the Supreme Court’s ruling. I am confident that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle can work together to ensure Americans’ most sacred right is protected. Voter discrimination still exists, and our progress toward equality should not be mistaken for a final victory.” — Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner
While the Supreme Court did not invalidate Section 5, a key part of the Voting Rights Act was thrown out. They threw out the basic formula that has been in use since the bill’s passage in 1965. That formula determines when the Justice Department must review local election rules, that might suppress the votes of African-American and Latino citizens, before they could be put into effect. Voter suppression rules can still be challenged by the Department of Justice after the fact, but this often happens too late to prevent minority voters from being blocked from the polls. The court’s decision effectively guts the Voting Rights Act, rendering it useless until Congress updates the coverage formula for Section 5.
Republicans didn’t waste any time in taking advantage of this ruling for electoral gain. Within hours of Supreme Court’s decision, several states in the South immediately announced that they would pursue onerous new voter ID laws that were clearly designed to make it harder for African-Americans and Latinos to vote.
It’s the same old story of using the irrational fear of voter “fraud” as cover while they work to disenfranchise eligible voters. The truth is, voter fraud is exceedingly rare. More Americans are struck by lightning than commit voter fraud. The real problem, the one that can adversely impact election results if we’re not vigilant, is voter suppression.
Tell Congress to fight voter suppression and pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act now.
For decades the Voting Rights Act protected voters in pockets of the country with a history of racially discriminatory voting practices. In 2012, it allowed the Justice Department to block attempts by Texas, South Carolina and Florida to implement discriminatory voting rules. But until Congress restores the Voting Rights Act, right-wing efforts to make it harder for African-Americans and Latino citizens to vote will run completely amok.
The Voting Rights Amendment Act would fix Section 5, our strongest tool for fighting voter suppression efforts, by updating the formula for determining which states and municipalities need pre-approval from the Department of Justice to change their voting laws. We need to show Congress massive public support for this crucial bill. Let’s put the extreme right-wing Republicans in Congress on the hook for not going on the record against efforts in the states to make it harder for African-Americans and Latinos to vote.
1. “‘Shelby County': One Year Later,” Brennan Center for Justice, June 24, 2014
2. “H.R. 3899: The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014,” Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner
3. “Voting Rights in the Post-Shelby county Era,” American Constitution Society, June 20, 2014
If you were at Winnemucca’s Labor Day Parade or the Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, you would have had an opportunity to meet and talk to or at least wave at Andrew Martin who is running for State Controller on the November ballot.
As an Assemblyman and member of the Economic Forum Andrew has worked on Nevada’s budget, understands our finances, and knows what needs to be done to improve our economy. Andrew is a business owner, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF), and Certified Internal Controls Auditor (CICA). Mr. Martin has over 28 years of professional experience providing accounting, advisory, audit and tax services to a diverse group of business, individual, governmental, and non‐profit clients.
His opponent, Ron Knecht, is a “limited government conservative” who was a member of the “Mean 15” and who has signed onto Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” of no new taxes. He’s a proudly professed NRA member (who also proudly supports “campus concealed carry) and who was elected to the Nevada Assembly once and NOT returned. But, most importantly, where Andrew clearly holds certifications beneficial for the job, Mr. Knecht is a Mechanical Engineer by profession and has managed a few budgets and made a few investments.
Really? That’s the best fiscal and financial expertise the Republican Party has to offer up? Somebody who diligently works side-by-side with Sharron Angle to shut government down?
“Fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability isn’t just a campaign slogan, it is what I believe in, and they are the principals by which I will operate the Office of the Controller.” — Andrew Martin
As our Nevada State Controller, Andrew Martin has pledged to:
- Strengthen the State’s fiscal oversight and accountability, which will benefit the economic health of Nevada and improve our outlook for the future.
- Assure that our tax dollars are being spent wisely to accomplish tangible results, linking dollars spent to measurable outcomes that are tied to state-wide priorities, such as higher student test scores, lower crime rates, and a healthier population.
- Collect debts owed to the State so that Nevadans who work hard and pay sales, gas, real estate and other taxes don’t have to carry the load for businesses that don’t.
- Make sure the worldwide financial community knows that Nevada is a great place to invest, improving Nevada’s business climate, boosting our economy and stimulating job creation.
Personally, when I’m looking to hire a State Controller, I’m looking for someone who is pledging to do what’s best for Nevada’s citizens, not someone who is beholding to Grover Norquist, someone who doesn’t live in Nevada, and who most likely knows absolutely NOTHING about the needs of Nevadans. I don’t know about you, but I’m planning to pony up to the voting booth during early elections to cast my vote for the best qualified candidate for the job: Andrew Martin!
Committees are currently in place and are working up “pros” and “cons” for these two county-related questions that will appear on ballots in Humboldt County this November:
BALLOT QUESTION: Hospital Trustee Advisory Question
This question is “advisory” only:
Should Humboldt County Code Chapter 2.16 be amended to reduce the number of trustees serving on the Board of Trustees of the Humboldt General Hospital from 6 to 5 by eliminating the trustee position which is appointed from the elected body of the Humboldt County Board of County Commissioners?
BALLOT QUESTION: Sales Tax for Parks and Recreation
Shall Humboldt County Board of Commissioners be authorized to impose an additional one quarter of one percent (0.25%) of general sales and use tax collected in the County as authorized under NRS Chapter 377A to be used to acquire, develop, construct, equip, operate, maintain, improve and manage parks, recreational programs and facilities or any combination of those purposes?
CITY OF WINNEMUCCA
NOTICE OF CITY ELECTION AND FILING OF
DECLARATION OF CANDIDACY FOR CITY ELECTION
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the General City Election of the City of Winnemucca, Nevada will be at the same time as the General Election to be held on Tuesday, November 4, 2014.
NOTICE IS HEREBY FURTHER GIVEN that:
- The following are the offices for which candidates are to be elected:
Mayor- Four year term
Council member Seat 2 -Four year term
Council member Seat 4- Four year term
- A Declaration of Candidacy must be filed with the City Clerk of the City of Winnemucca, 90 West Fourth Street, Winnemucca, Nevada on or after 8:00 AM, Monday, August 25, 2014 and before the close of filing for office at 5:00 PM, Friday, August 29, 2014.
- A filing fee in the amount of $25.00 shall be paid by each candidate at the time of filing a Declaration of Candidacy.
- The Mayor and Council members must be qualified electors within the City of Winnemucca and bona fide residents thereof for at least one year next preceding their election, and candidates for office must have actually resided in the City of Winnemucca for at least 30 days immediately preceding the date of the close of filing of the Declaration of Candidacy.
- All candidates are voted upon by the electors of the City of Winnemucca at-large.
CITY OF WINNEMUCCA
PUBLISHED in The Humboldt Sun twice: August 12, 2014 and August 19, 2014
— by Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Speaker of the Nevada State Assembly
With less than 100 days until Election Day and just over 80 until Nevadans start voting, I am writing to update you on the Assembly Democratic Caucus, something I hope to do periodically over the next few months. It has been my great honor to serve as the Speaker of the Nevada Assembly since 2013 and the leader of our caucus.
For the past several sessions, our caucus has proposed a legislative agenda of job creation, education, stemming the rate of foreclosures, making health care more accessible and affordable, and improving public safety. We have successfully fought for measures to —
- Put more Nevadans back to work and improve our economic diversification efforts.
- Increase funding for education and other critical state needs.
- Help ensure a quality teacher in every classroom.
- Improve the quality of our health care systems in Nevada.
- Strengthen laws to prosecute both white collar and violent criminals.
We want to continue to fight for these priorities in 2015. As we do in every election cycle, we have worked to recruit men and women who will not only be strong candidates capable of winning their seats, but who will also be legislators who can hit the ground running once they are elected.
We believe 2014 will be a good year for our caucus. Currently, 27 of the 42 members of the Nevada Assembly are Democrats. We have six outstanding new candidates running for six open seats, and 21 of our 27 Democratic incumbents are running for re-election, all of which have solid Democratic registration advantages. We are confident we will be successful in all of our races and that we have an opportunity to even pick up a seat for a super majority.
I am assisted in our efforts by Jason Frierson, our Assistant Majority Leader. All of our incumbents are working hard to win their own seats and to mentor our new candidates to help them win their races and get prepared to serve. And, of course, we are already working to develop our policy agenda for 2015, with legislative proposals that will continue to move our state forward.
If you would like more information on any of these races, or any other information on our caucus, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.