February 27, 2013 | By wonkum |
IMPACT RELEASES #VOTEREADY COMPREHENSIVE REPORT
Report Highlights Efforts to Combat Voter Suppression and Ensure Ballot Access
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Wednesday February 27, 2013, as part of its #VoteReady campaign, IMPACT released its 2012 year-end report on the organization’s efforts to combat voter suppression and guarantee ballot access for young professionals of color during this past election cycle. The report is unveiled as arguments will be heard today in the Supreme Court in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, a case that challenges key provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a landmark civil rights law designed to make voting a reality for African Americans in the south and discontinue voter suppression tactics, which kept them from the polls nearly 100 years after the Constitution guaranteed them the right to vote.
Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, which is a case challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Section 5 puts safeguards in place to prevent racial discrimination in elections by requiring many local areas (and some entire states) to seek approval from the Justice Department before implementing any election-related changes. Shelby County, Alabama, which is southeast of Birmingham, is one of those covered areas.
“After the surge of Voter ID laws proposed and passed along with incredibly long waiting times for voters in the 2012 election cycle, it is clear the Voting Rights Act remains a relevant and necessary tool for protecting voters rights,” said IMPACT Deputy Director Nina Smith. “Our #VoteReady report demonstrates the need for vigilance on the part of the federal government to ensure that all communities have the access and opportunity they need to be full participants in our democracy — a right millions have fought and died for.”
Last year, after recognizing the potential for voter suppression across the country, IMPACT launched #VoteReady, a campaign to inform and empower young professionals of color about their voting rights. Goals included registering eligible voters ages 40 and under, re-registering voters, encouraging early and absentee voting, educating peers about onerous voter ID laws, and leveraging social media to raise awareness and educate voters about how to exercise your right to vote. Specifically, the campaign utilized social media, including holding Super Twitter Tuesday Town Halls; targeted students with an IMPACT toolkit; and researched the impact of newly-enacted voter suppression laws to inform the broader public policy debate.
Partners of the #VoteReady campaign included the Congressional Black Caucus, Coalition for Black Civic Participation, Lawyer’s Committee on Civil Rights, AARP, SEIU, as well as celebrities and other notable figures including the Reverend Al Sharpton. In all, over a ten week period, IMPACT generated nearly 19 million impressions reaching an audience of almost 6 million followers through its Twitter town halls. In addition, through the IMPACT College Series, the organization supported efforts across ten college campuses to prepare young people to cast their ballots for the first time. Finally, shortly before Election Day, IMPACT released a report analyzing the effects of recent voter suppression efforts enacted by state legislatures.
IMPACT (@teamIMPACT) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage and build a network of young professionals of color to foster civic engagement, increase knowledge of the political and legislative processes, and enhance economic empowerment opportunities. For additional information about IMPACT, visit www.IMPACT-dc.com.