This act flows from a clear and simple wrong. Its only purpose is to right that wrong. Millions of Americans are denied the right to vote because of their color. This law will ensure them the right to vote. The wrong is one which no American, in his heart, can justify. The right is one which no American, true to our principles, can deny.
This right to vote is the basic right without which all others are meaningless. It gives people, people as individuals, control over their own destinies.
Forty-seven years later, states have enacted new legal barriers that could make it harder for five million eligible voters to exercise the basic right of our democracy. The most burdensome change requires voters to show an acceptable form of photo ID in order to vote.
In Pennsylvania, for instance, a new analysis of the impact of the state’s voter ID law found that in Philadelphia, the birthplace of our democracy, voters in predominantly African American precincts are 85 percent more likely to lack a PennDOT ID than voters in predominantly white precincts.
So with the clock ticking, the Cost of Freedom Project has partnered with the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and The Andrew Goodman Foundation to educate voters about the new photo ID requirements.
The Cost of Freedom App is a web-based solution to help voters cut through the confusion and quickly navigate a voter ID application process that’s disenfranchising by design.
The public awareness campaign will be powered by social media, as well as traditional media. Voter education materials will be distributed at town hall meetings, policy forums and other community events.
I am in New York City for Personal Democracy Forum, an annual conference that focuses on the intersection of technology, civic engagement, politics and government. I’m attending as one of nine Tumblr Fellows.
As the chief evangelist for the Cost of Freedom Project, a citizen-led initiative that’s powered by we the people, I’m particularly interested in the “We Government” breakout track. Speakers will present ideas and tips on “the variety of ways the people and their governments are using data to make civic life smarter and more responsive to public needs.”
With the voter suppression schemes in place across the country, voting rights advocates must work harder and smarter to remove barriers to the ballot box and ensure all votes are counted.
During a recent broadcast of “Hour of Power,” Al Sharpton said:
This is not a normal election. We don’t know what we’re dealing with.
That’s true. But we do know that True the Vote will be out in force challenging voters’ eligibility and causing confusion at the polls. They’re crowdsourcing voter suppression; we must crowdsource voter protection.
Yo! Philly Votes will aggregate, visualize and contextualize multiple sources of real-time Election Day incident reports so that problems can be addressed and corrected in real time. We’re leveraging the power of Web 2.0 to fight Voter Suppression 2.0.