Do you feel it?
The gentle fall breeze, the smell of pumpkin spice, the flannel in your closet yearning to breathe free?
You know what's even better than all of that? Elections!
I'm kidding of course. Politics stress me out, and I know I'm not alone. We have to talk about it though – government has a major part to play in all of the other topics we discuss in this newsletter.
This week, we're diving into voting rights and voter suppression and gerrymandering and all those other fun things that make you think democracy had a good run, but maybe I should get a taste for maple syrup and moose repellent.
The basic requirements to vote are straightforward: you have to be a U.S. citizen 18 years or older, establish residency, and register to vote. It gets complicated once you start talking about voter ID laws. Just take a look at this chart to see how inconsistent they are across the country.
The Constitution says that the state legislatures shall establish "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives." That helps explain the variability between states. The same Article of the Constitution also says that Congress can pass laws to alter the regulations, other than changing where elections take place.
This seems like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I think that a national standard that secures our elections without burdensome voter ID requirements would do much to combat voter suppression. On the other hand, I'm concerned that doing so would set a standard where voting laws follow the whims of whichever political party has control of Congress. We already have enough of that happening at the state level with gerrymandering and indeed the voter ID laws we're talking about.
So what's to be done to secure Americans' voting rights? I'll leave that to this week's reads to tease out. It's safe to say that some level of change to legislation itself is required, which means voting in our elections is an essential step. With all of the hurdles in place, it can feel like your vote doesn't matter – but if you don't vote, it definitely doesn't.
You only have a few days left to register to vote if you haven't already. Go to vote.gov to learn more about how to register in your state, and hop to it!
- Greg (@gregrancourt)
P.S. Interested in a particular type of job or topic? DM me on Twitter or send us an email at email@example.com with your suggestions!
In this issue:
- Fighting voter suppression
- Reforming the electoral college
- Register to vote!
- Find a meaningful career
Join the conversation
Join us on Twitter to continue the conversation: What can we do to ensure a representative government for all?
This week's reads
Voting can be a convoluted obstacle course, especially for those who can’t read. Here are proven ways of fixing the system and enabling millions more voters to participate.
The partisan redistricting tactics of cracking and packing aren’t merely flaws in the system—they are the system.
From early voting to new election result reporting rules, New Jersey's voting systems have undergone a transformation in the last two years.
The way we now elect presidents would horrify the authors of the U.S. electoral system. But the system can be fixed, and the power lies with the states.
The new Comic Sans
Ben Doessel, James Lee, and Kevin McGlone came up with the perfect font to help you write that term paper on redistricting. It's called Ugly Gerry, and you can play around with it here.
All of the letters in Ugly Gerry are based on real U.S. congressional districts. With any luck, it won't be for long.
Find a meaningful career
We're trying something new! This week we're removing the individual job opportunities to make space for additional companies that are currently hiring. Let us know which format you prefer, and we'll use your feedback to improve future issues of the newsletter!
The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law works to build an America that is democratic, just, and free.
Common Cause is an organization fighting for an accountable government, equal rights/opportunities/representation and empowering voices to be heard.
A—B is a Black-owned creative agency redesigning how power works, and who has it, through research, strategy, creative and campaigns.
Mobilize helps mission-driven organizations manage events and recruit volunteers.
Mijente is a political home for Latinx and Chicanx people who seek racial, economic, gender and climate justice.
Demos is a dynamic “think-and-do” tank that powers the movement for a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy.
NextGen is the nation’s largest youth voting organization using innovative digital and field strategies to turn out young voters in key states.
The Roosevelt Institute is a think tank and campus network that works to move the country toward a new economy and democracy by the people, for the people.
Whether in the courts, statehouses, Congress or communities, the ACLU fights to defend the rights that the Constitution guarantees to all of us.