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5 Million and Counting – Rally Dec. 10 to Protect Voting Rights

Donna Lieberman,
New York Civil Liberties Union
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December 9, 2011

Imagine if everyone in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx suddenly lost the right to vote.

That’s about the number of people — 5 million and counting — affected by changes already adopted or currently pending in state legislatures around the country. When all is said and done, millions more could lose the right to vote.

On Saturday, December 10 — Human Rights Day — more than 100 civil, labor, and human rights organizations from across the country — including the New York Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU — will take a “Stand for Freedom” in New York City to protest the attack on voting rights. The march and rally will begin at the Manhattan headquarters of leading voter suppression funders, the Koch brothers, and will conclude outside the United Nations.

This year, legislatures in 34 states were pressed to pass laws that would undermine voting rights. Fourteen states have passed such laws. Early voting, Sunday voting and same-day registration are under attack. Unfair restrictions on the formerly incarcerated will strike tens of thousands from the voting rolls. Photo ID requirements represent the greatest barrier to voting since the poll tax.

More than a century ago, extremists attacked voting rights to help establish segregation. Now they’re attempting to suppress voter turnout among groups that typically cast ballots in favor of social justice and civil rights. This tightly coordinated effort targets the voting rights of the elderly, the poor, students and people of color.

Myths about widespread voter fraud are used to justify barriers to voting, but study after study has shown that voter fraud is extremely rare. The limited fraud that occurs typically involves absentee ballots, which photo ID requirement do not address. It is important to protect the integrity of the election process, but not at the cost of disenfranchising eligible voters.

Saturday’s march will assemble at 10 a.m. at 61st Street and Madison Avenue, near the Koch brothers Manhattan offices. Starting at 11 a.m., we will march to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (47th Street and 2nd Avenue) for a noon rally.

Come march with me and ACLU Executive Director, Anthony Romero.

The right to vote is at the heart of our democracy. Help us protect it.

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