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This Week in Civil Liberties (11/09/2012)

Rekha Arulanantham,
Litigation Fellow,
ACLU National Prison Project
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November 9, 2012

How can you ensure your state officials protect your civil liberties?

In which state was a lawsuit filed regarding a new software patch installed on voting machines?

Ballot measure victories for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Maine, Maryland and Washington will likely affect which federal court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act?

Voters in which three states approved smart drug law reform regarding marijuana?

Maryland voters approved what immigration reform that expands access to higher education for in-state students, regardless of their immigration status?

Ballot High Across the Country

This week, we heard directly from voters about our civil liberties. They spoke loud and clear. They want them protected, defended and expanded.

Now, state legislators across the country will debate many of these same issues – like immigration, abortion, marriage, and criminal justice reform – next year during their legislative sessions.

And when they do, make sure you keep up with what’s happening. Let your representatives know what you value in your community, and hold them accountable for their votes.

Unsettling Questions about Voting Machines in Ohio

As America headed to the polls this week, stories started circulating about a lawsuit filed over a last-minute software patch apparently installed on voting tabulation machines in Ohio, as described in a secret contract between Ohio’s Republican secretary of state and the nation’s largest electronic voting machine manufacturer.

A Marriage Moment

The nation has just had a marriage moment – a tipping point where voters in three states have affirmed the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The vote illustrates that the country is getting squarely behind the notion that same-sex couples should be able to make the same legal commitment to each other that straight folks can. And this marriage moment provides immeasurable support for the prospect of another one next June, when the Supreme Court is likely to issue its views on marriage for same-sex couples.

Marijuana on the Ballot

This week’s election brought exciting signs that America is finally ready to choose sensible policies over draconian ones that deny sick people access to the medicine they need, and others that clog our criminal justice system with nonviolent marijuana users. ACLU affiliates across the country worked hard to support the passage of three important measures.

DREAM Act Passage in Maryland Should Spark Federal Action

Tuesday’s election was a watershed moment for immigrants’ rights in Maryland. Faced with federal inaction and a stalemate on immigration reform, Maryland stepped in to ensure that none of its children are left behind.

Voters in the state overwhelmingly approved Question 4, a ballot measure known as the Maryland DREAM Act, which expands access to higher education for all of Maryland’s students, regardless of their immigration status. We hope this move will inspire the incoming Congress to act decisively to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

This is your week in civil liberties. Let us know if this is useful or if you’d like to see changes. Share your thoughts:

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