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Updates from the Lawyers’ Committee

Blog November 1, 2015

Why the Fall 2015 elections (and every election) matter

While most of the nation focuses on the 2016 presidential election, many voters across the United States may be unaware of the important local and state elections that are taking place this fall. On Saturday, October 24, Louisiana held its gubernatorial primary election and only had 38.5% voter turnout. A similarly low turnout is expected as voters head to the polls throughout the country on Tuesday, November 3. In the 2014 election cycle, we saw the lowest voter turnout since 1942, with just over 36% of eligible voters casting ballots in the midterm election. As we gear up for the 2016 presidential election, we will hear a lot about increasing voter participation, but voters need to remember that the Fall 2015 elections, and every election, matter. So why do Fall 2015 elections matter? Fall 2015 is a critical year for voters in states such as Louisiana and Mississippi where the […]

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Reforming election process can improve voter turnout

November 20, 2015

The Morning Call

As we approach the 2016 presidential election, the process of how Pennsylvanians register and cast ballots is coming to the forefront. Fewer than a quarter of registered voters cast a ballot in the most recent general election less than three weeks ago. While this low turnout can be attributed partly to few high-profile races on the ballot, it’s clear that Pennsylvania’s election system has room for improvement. Though Pennsylvania’s election system works well for many voters, low turnout in recent elections indicates it may not work well for all voters.

Few take advantage of Louisiana law allowing them to vote without photo ID

November 19, 2015

The New Orleans Advocate

The staff at Beth Butler’s polling station in the Bywater neighborhood doesn’t even ask her for a photo ID on election day anymore. They know Butler is there to make a point, as well as to cast a ballot. “Now they just see me and start reaching for the pink affidavits,” said Butler, a longtime community activist.

NAACP Sues Ga. County For Purging African-American Voters

November 10, 2015


Julie Houk, an attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, represents the plaintiffs. She said since August, at least 201 voter registrations were challenged, according to the lawsuit. “What Hancock County tried to do was to say if someone was not found at the address on their voter registration form, then they would challenge those,” said Houk. She said the address-based challenges violate state and federal law.

Real Estate Shell Companies Scheme to Defraud Owners Out of Their Homes

November 7, 2015

New York Times

Coming amid waves of gentrification, the reports of deed theft have helped feed the unease felt in neighborhoods where longtime residents — blacks and Hispanics, the poor and middle class — are increasingly being priced out. A report last year by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Center for NYC Neighborhoods found that the schemes disproportionately affected black and Hispanic homeowners.  

The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure equal justice for all through the rule of law, targeting in particular the inequities confronting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities. The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar's leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity - work that continues to be vital today.

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