Nationwide, Voters Stand Up for Civil Liberties and Freedom

November 8, 2006 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – Yesterday voters nationwide rejected candidates who failed to uphold civil liberties and rejected ballot initiatives that undermine fundamental freedoms of all Americans.

“American voters have reinvigorated our system of checks and balances essential to stopping the abuse of power,” said Anthony D. Romero, American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director. “Voters finally had enough of the 109th Congress that repeatedly rubber-stamped legislation that violates our basic rights. Voters also rejected many state ballot initiatives designed to restrict civil liberties and meddle in our personal lives. The 110th Congress should take note – voters rejected political scare tactics and government power grabs in favor of civil liberties and policies that keep us safe and free.”

In several congressional races voters rejected the strategy to paint national security as a polarizing issue. In Ohio, incumbent Senator Mike DeWine was defeated. DeWine sponsored legislation that condoned the president’s warrantless wiretapping program.

South Dakota rejected a proposal to ban virtually all abortions in the state, while Oregon and California blocked measures to limit teenagers’ access. The ACLU played a leading role in the South Dakota victory.

As a non-partisan organization, the ACLU takes no official position in any race for elected office. Instead, ACLU activists and staff champion civil liberties issues among all parties and candidates. For example, the ACLU has high regard for the civil liberties record of Arizona Representative Jeff Flake, who won reelection yesterday.

“The American people have spoken,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “The lame-duck session should not be used to ram through proposals that the American people have clearly rejected. The rule of law has been seriously compromised over the past five years, and lawmakers must now seek to reaffirm our commitment to fundamental freedoms.”

The voters’ decisive action tracks the findings of surveys of 600 registered voters conducted in each of four states: Connecticut, New Mexico, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which found that voters want to see Congress take a stronger role in providing checks and balances to the President’s actions in fighting terrorism. The surveys, conducted for the ACLU and completed in September, also found a strong preference for candidates who oppose the president’s policies on the treatment of Guantánamo detainees. And the surveys found that Americans oppose secret searches of the private records and phone calls of Americans. Results from the poll are available at

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.

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