Historic Congressional Briefing

“HOW VOTER SUPPRESSION EFFORTS ARE THREATENING OUR DEMOCRACY”

 

April 21, 2016 Congressional hearing on Voter Suppression and Election Manipulation

 

This Congressional briefing on April 21, 2016 was sponsored by the National Election Defense Coalition (NEDC), and the Transformative Justice Coalition (TJC) . 

The briefing inspired the forming of a new Congressional Voting Rights Caucus.

 

UPDATE

We are pleased to report that our efforts in mobilizing resistance in Congress to state voter suppression and election fraud led to a standing room only crowd in a House Judiciary Committee hearing room on April 21st. 

Read the NEDC report in Truthout.org

Nine members of Congress and two hundred activists and Congressional staff gathered for a historic briefing on the most pressing issues of 2016; voter suppression and manipulation of US elections. 

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) brought much needed attention to a crucial aspect of the election crisis: the aging, hackable voting technology used nationwide. Johnson cited the fact that the vote-counting software in these machines is still programmed by a cadre of private companies on proprietary software inaccessible to elections officials and the public.

To begin addressing some of these problems, Johnson will introduce the Verifying Optimal Tools for Elections Act of 2016 (VOTE Act). The bill calls for state-controlled, open-source programming of all voting technology, and provides more than $125 million in Help America Vote Act grants to assist states in replacing voting machines. The bill would also allocate $50 million in grants for training poll workers, adopting new voting technologies and safeguards, and, crucially, removing control of voting machine source code software from private vendors.

 

VIDEO

“There is a very insidious, treacherous and deceitful method of voter suppression, and I would be remiss if I did not tell you about it. It has to do with the integrity of the voting process itself.”
-- Representative Hank Johnson

 

"I want you to know that I like the diversity of the color of the make up of this room. We have white brothers and sisters, we have African Americans, we have Hispanics now concerned about this. . .  Are we motived to go out and do even more than we were going to do before?"
- Representative John Conyers

 

“The most dangerous thing in our democracy right now is the fact that partisan, for-profit corporations using secret proprietary software provide the voting hardware and the software to register us to vote, count our votes, and report election results.”
- Dr. Robert Fitrakis, JD

 

ABOUT THE BRIEFING

This urgent and timely Congressional briefing exposed state voter suppression laws and practices that could stop approximately 1.3 million Americans from voting in competitive states. Thirty-two states have promulgated new Jim Crow laws to combat the largely mythical "voter fraud." Sixteen of these states will see their plans go into effect for the crucial 2016 elections. 

These include, but are not limited to, proof of
citizenship, strict photo ID requirements, early voting cutbacks, and practices that create extreme waiting lines.

This is happening predominantly in precincts with a large presence of African Americans, Hispanics, and university students.

Additionally speakers addressed the crisis of our aging, privately controlled voting machines and insecure vote-counting technology that pose serious questions about vulnerability and accuracy of our election results.
 
 

For more information on the Congressional Briefing contact:

Joel Segal, Legislative Director, National Election Defense Coalition, former Senior Legislative Assistant to Rep. John Conyers.

571-344-1518 or Joel.R.Segal@gmail.com

 

Speakers

Rep. John Conyers
Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee
Rep. Maxine Waters
Rep. Alma Adams
Rep. Terri Sewell
Rep. Marc Veasey
Rep. G.K. Butterfield
Rep. Elija Cummings
Rep. Hank Johnson


Rev. William Barber
Executive Director, N.C. NAACP
Leader, Moral Monday Movement

Barbara R. Arnwine
Transformative Justice Coalition

Former Executive Director, Lawyers’ 
Committee For Civil Rights Under Law

Robert J. Fitrakis, PhD
Professor, Columbus State College
Election Defense Expert

Ari Berman
Contributing Writer, Nation Magazine
Voting Rights Expert

Lindsey Nielson, PhD
University of California, San Diego
Author of the recent UCSD Report  
How Voter Suppression Laws
Are Restricting the Vote in
Communities of Color

 
 

THE NEDC MISSION

RESTORING DEMOCRACY TO U.S. ELECTIONS
 

Democratic elections determine the direction of our communities, our nation, and our planet. But in America, the will of the people is being profoundly undermined through coordinated attacks:
 

  • MASS VOTER SUPPRESSION

  • RIGGED VOTING MACHINES

  • CORRUPT CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Americans face a crucial crossroads. Democratic reform is not a partisan issue, it is a moral imperative.
— NEDC Co-Founder, Former VT State Senator Ben Ptashnik

By derailing democracy, extremists have occupied government and are controlling policy on vital issues:
 

  • Climate Change and Environmental Protection

  • Poverty, Inequality and Health

  • Jobs and Opportunity

  • Women's Rights

  • Mass Incarceration and Police Violence

  • War for Profit

 
 

WE ARE ORGANIZING TO RECLAIM DEMOCRACY and our future.
 

 

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