Kansas Live-Stream Event Kicks Off Nationwide Push to Expand Voting Rights

October 1, 2017

LAWRENCE, Kan. – At a launch event livestreamed from the University of Kansas, staff and volunteers with The American Civil Liberties Union launched a new grassroots campaign in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to restore and expand Americans’ voting rights. Driven by the organization’s People Power organizing platform, the new campaign will connect thousands of volunteers across the country with localized opportunities to advocate for state and local policies that make it easier for people to vote. The live-streamed event was broadcast in front of a live audience of 800 to more than 500 viewing parties in every state, for a total of 100,000 viewers across the nation.

The campaign will involve initiatives individually tailored to each state and taken up by grassroots activists, working in concert with ACLU state affiliate offices. Highlights of the campaign include:

  • Supporting a ballot initiative to restore coring rights to 1.6 million Floridians who have been convicted of crimes and have served their time;
  • Working with allies in Georgia to push for an independent redistricting commission;
  • Pushing back against attempts in West Virginia to narrow the types of identification voters can use at polling locations; and
  • Working with Kansans to fight for Election Day voter registration.

“In too many parts of our country, people still face significant barriers to the ballot, often because of policies specifically designed to suppress voting. We are going on offense to fight back, and change state laws across the country to make it easier for people to vote,” said Faiz Shakir, ACLU National Political Director. “Our democracy wins when more people participate, so our newest People Power campaign will build a nationwide grassroots movement to expand access to the ballot."

The launch event took place in Kansas, home state of Kris Kobach, chair of President Trump’s commission to investigate voter fraud. ACLU experts took the stage to outline obstacles facing voters nationwide, lay out the organization’s legal work to protect voters, and offer a brief training on voting rights advocacy to viewers across the nation. Following the program, volunteers gathered at house parties worked together to launch localized voting rights campaigns, which will closely coordinate with ACLU state affiliates as they expand ballot access across the nation.

The Let People Vote campaign will consist of location-specific calls to action in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. These calls to action fall within four themes: election reforms to update the voting system and make voting easier; countering voter suppression policies that make it harder for people to vote; rights restoration proposals that give voting rights back to people who have repaid their debt to society; and redistricting reforms to stop corrosive partisan gerrymandering.

ACLU’s People Power platform was launched from a March event in Miami with over 2,000 attendees that was live-streamed to over 2,300 house parties. The first People Power project, Freedom Cities, has resulted in numerous local laws passed across the country to protect immigrant communities.

 

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