The freedom to choose our leaders is the foundation of our society in the U.S. and we’re proud of it. Polling shows that Americans believe our system is a great system. Voting should be free, fair, and accessible.
While the initial vote was limited, the historic trend has been to expand voting to non-landowners, to women, to people of color, to those 18 and over until last year, that is. The 2011-2012 state legislative sessions saw an unprecedented attack on voting rights through rules and regulations that throw up barriers to voting, such as “proof-of-citizenship” to register to vote and strict photo voter ID to cast a ballot. Iowa struck the first blow by reversing a law that returned voting rights to those Americans with criminal convictions once they had completed their sentences.
Last year, Sarah Massey joined the voting rights team at Project Vote as Media Director to fight for democracy during another historic election. The role included protecting the right to vote and advocating expanded rights through the press. Sarah was quoted widely:
On felon disenfranchisement, Sarah Massey, a spokeswoman with Project Vote, said that a clear message is being sent by the engineering of voting laws that specifically target certain demographic groups.
“One out of four black men go to jail in this country, and we [America] have the worst incarceration rate in the Western world. Then taking away people’s rights to vote, it all paints a picture to me that one population doesn’t deserve to have the same rights as the others,” Massey said. “It’s all in the numbers of people in jail, and let’s be real, it’s also about the races of the people in jail.” (Huffington Post)
On Election Day Registration, Sarah Massey, media director at Project Vote, a voting rights advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., lauded EDR as an effective tool for voting rights advocates. “It’s a common-sense approach for encouraging more Americans to vote,” Massey told Salon. “If you are in favor of more Americans participating in democracy, then you are for reforms like Election Day Registration, a popular and proven practice that has boosted voter turnout.” (Salon.com)
Sarah continues to consult for Project Vote as the organization protects voting rights and seeks to include more Americans in voting.
Image: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 while Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others look on.