Skip to content
Search

Latest Stories

Top Stories

SPLC puts $30 million toward registering voters of color

Voter registration table
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

The Southern Poverty Law Center is ponying up $30 million to help community organizations further their voter registration efforts.

The "Vote Your Voice" campaign, announced Tuesday, focuses on increasing registration and mobilization of voters of color in five states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Voting registration efforts across the country have taken a hit because of the coronavirus. Physical distancing and state lockdowns have made it difficult for organizers to do many of the usual voter registration pushes that take place during a presidential election year.


The SPLC, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, is providing resources to grassroots organizations that help break down barriers for voters of color, in hopes of combating some of the mounting pressures that the pandemic is causing for community organizers.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to have a disproportionate impact on democratic participation for communities of color who have been harmed most deeply by the health and economic crisis and who will encounter greater barriers to voter participation given the new risks of voting in person on Election Day," wrote SPLC President and Chief Executive Office Margaret Huang.

The pandemic is an additional layer of complication for voters, compounding what Huang says is a "resurgence of state-sponsored voter suppression that is targeting communities of color."

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

In the five states where the initiative focuses, more than 500 polling sites have been closed since the Supreme Court's 2013 Shelby v. Holder decision voided the preclearance requirement by which certain states and counties had to get federal approval before changing election procedures. Activists also cite voter roll purges, strict voter ID laws and scaling back early voting as some of the issues that make it harder for people of color to participate in the franchise.



"We must all work to end systemic barriers that deny our citizens their right to vote, especially in Black communities across the South," said Lita Pardi, vice president of community at Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta.

"This initiative is especially important right now, as millions of people across the country feel the urgency to make our voices heard this fall after the continued silence from our leaders on the many Black people being killed by police," said Huang. "Voting won't solve this problem the day after the election but in order to begin dismantling white supremacy, we need to ensure that every voter of color is able to cast their ballot without interference or hardship."

While the grants will start as a ramp-up to the general election, the investments in these organizations will continue through 2022.

"We're also aiming to help groups build capacity in between federal election cycles — too much of this work is transactional where groups are only supported ahead of presidential and congressional elections," Huang wrote. "We plan to help sustain these organizations during local election cycles by providing multi-year grants."

Grants are also available to organizations working with other voters who face major barriers to participation like returning citizens, young people and those who have been purged from voter rolls.

The first round of grants will be distributed in July through an invitation-only application. An open call for a second round will take place later this summer.

Read More

Trump and Biden at the debate

Our political dysfunction was on display during the debate in the simple fact of the binary choice on stage: Trump vs Biden.

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The debate, the political duopoly and the future of American democracy

Johnson is the executive director of the Election Reformers Network, a national nonpartisan organization advancing common-sense reforms to protect elections from polarization.

The talk is all about President Joe Biden’s recent debate performance, whether he’ll be replaced at the top of the ticket and what it all means for the very concerning likelihood of another Trump presidency. These are critical questions.

But Donald Trump is also a symptom of broader dysfunction in our political system. That dysfunction has two key sources: a toxic polarization that elevates cultural warfare over policymaking, and a set of rules that protects the major parties from competition and allows them too much control over elections. These rules entrench the major-party duopoly and preclude the emergence of any alternative political leadership, giving polarization in this country its increasingly existential character.

Keep ReadingShow less
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Voters should be able to take the measure of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., since he is poised to win millions of votes in November.

Andrew Lichtenstein/Getty Images

Kennedy should have been in the debate – and states need ranked voting

Richie is co-founder and senior advisor of FairVote.

CNN’s presidential debate coincided with a fresh batch of swing-state snapshots that make one thing perfectly clear: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. may be a longshot to be our 47th president and faces his own controversies, yet the 10 percent he’s often achieving in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and other battlegrounds could easily tilt the presidency.

Why did CNN keep him out with impossible-to-meet requirements? The performances, mistruths and misstatements by Joe Biden and Donald Trump would have shocked Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, who managed to debate seven times without any discussion of golf handicaps — a subject better fit for a “Grumpy Old Men” outtake than one of the year’s two scheduled debates.

Keep ReadingShow less
I Voted stickers

Veterans for All Voters advocates for election reforms that enable more people to participate in primaries.

BackyardProduction/Getty Images

Veterans are working to make democracy more representative

Proctor, a Navy veteran, is a volunteer with Veterans for All Voters.

Imagine this: A general election with no negative campaigning and four or five viable candidates (regardless of party affiliation) competing based on their own personal ideas and actions — not simply their level of obstruction or how well they demonize their opponents. In this reformed election process, the candidate with the best ideas and the broadest appeal will win. The result: The exhausted majority will finally be well-represented again.

Keep ReadingShow less
Person voting at a dropbox in Washington, D.C.

A bill moving through Congress would only allow U.S. citizens to vote in D.C. municipal eletions.

Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

The battle over noncitizen voting in America's capital

Rogers is the “data wrangler” at BillTrack50. He previously worked on policy in several government departments.

Should you be allowed to vote if you aren’t an American citizen? Or according to the adage ‘No taxation without representation’, if you pay taxes should you get to choose the representatives who help spend those tax dollars? Those questions are at the heart of the debate over a bill to restrict voting to U.S. citizens.

Keep ReadingShow less
people walking through a polling place

Election workers monitor a little-used polling place in Sandy Springs, Ga., during the state's 2022 primary.

Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

What November election? Half of the U.S. House is already decided.

Troiano is the executive director ofUnite America, a philanthropic venture fund that invests in nonpartisan election reform to foster a more representative and functional government. He’s also the author of “The Primary Solution.”

Last month, Americans were treated to an embarrassing spectacle: Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) tradingpersonal insults related to “fake eyelashes” and a “bleach blonde bad built butch body” during a late-night committee hearing. Some likened it to Bravo’s “Real Housewives” reality TV series, and wondered how it was possible that elected officials could act that way and still be elected to Congress by the voters.

The truth is, the vast majority of us don’t actually elect our House members — not even close. Less than 10 percent of voters in Crockett’s district participated in her 2024 Democratic primary, which all but guaranteed her re-election in the safe blue district. Greene ran unopposed in her GOP primary — meaning she was re-elected without needing to win a single vote. The nearly 600,000 voters in her overwhelmingly red district were denied any meaningful choice. Both contests were decided well before most voters participate in the general election.

Keep ReadingShow less