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‘Civil Rights’ Category

Monday, June 30th, 2008

NYT To FLA: Fix “Wildly Illogical” Voting System


Last week we brought you the news that over 100,000 ex-felons in Florida are getting their voting rights back.

Today the New York Times says those reforms are “well short of what’s needed — a complete overhaul of a wildly illogical system.” The interconnections of voting rights and access to jobs is part of the problem, so says the Times.

In most states, inmates win back their voting rights as soon as they are released from prison or when they complete parole or probation. One big reason that does not happen in Florida is that state law requires felons to first make restitution to their victims. And until their voting rights are restored, former prisoners are barred from scores of state-regulated occupations for which the restoration of voting rights is listed as a condition of employment.

Quite apart from the fact that it is undemocratic to bar people from the voting booth because they owe money, the system is transparently counterproductive since it prevents people from landing the jobs they will need to make restitution. Bail bonds in Los Angeles CA are so popular, likely due to denying ex-offenders a chance to make an honest living which is driving them back to jail.

The system also requires extensive and unnecessary background checks before voting rights can be restored for some applicants, making it hard to reduce the backlog. Florida could clear up that backlog in a hurry, treat all ex-offenders fairly and enhance democracy by automatically restoring voting rights to inmates who have completed their sentences.

When we visited both the Iowa and Nevada caucuses earlier this year to document the “Un-Caucuses” — who isn’t able to participate in the caucus process and why that is — we met in both states ex-felons who are excluded from the voter rolls. We’ll continue to monitor how this issue is addressed around the country.

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

“Without my rights, it’s like I’m still doing time all over again.”

That’s the quote that ends today’s New York Times article about 115,000 ex-felons in Florida getting their voting rights back.

New York Times

If you listen to NPR’s coverage, you’ll learn that in all but three states felons get their voting rights back after their sentences are completed. You’ll also find out how the new rules of re-enfranchisement work in Florida.


Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Welcome, History Channel Viewers!

Welcome to those of you who made your way here by way of the History Channel. Our founder William Wachtel is featured in Tom Brokaw’s KING documentary, a look at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy 40 years after his assassination. Watch John Legend perform U2’s Pride for the film, via YouTube. (more…)

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

Twittering Meet the Press on MLK, Jr.

Why Tuesday? Board member Andrew Young appeared on Meet the Press this morning with Michael Eric Dyson and Tom Brokaw to discuss the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 40 years after his assassination. I followed along, as I did with Senator Bill Nelson on Meet the Press last Sunday, tweet-by-tweet.


Those are the final three tweets I posted. For the full live-tweet of Ambassador Young’s appearance, and to follow along with our efforts, subscribe to our Twitter feed.

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

TIME: An Assassination Remembered

Andrew Young

On the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., TIME magazine talked with the four surviving aides who were with him that fateful day.

Why Tuesday? Board Member Andrew Young was one of those aides.

He says King’s influence and the movement he started continues to be felt.

“It inspired success in a broad range of men and women of goodwill in the world. It inspired success, I’m sure in South Africa, but…also…when the Polish freedom fighters were standing up against communism, they followed our non-violent traditions. When the Berlin Wall came down, they were singing ‘We Shall Overcome.’ The same thing was true in Tiananmen Square, so there was a global movement. In fact, it was global before we got in it because all of us learned it from Gandhi.”

He said King would be surprised at the progress that has been made over time, although there is much more to do.

“Freedom is a struggle and we do it together. Not only together as black citizens, but black and white together,” says Young. “Martin Luther King talked about a Coalition of Conscience, or a Coalition of Goodwill — people of goodwill who want to change the world for the better. I think you see evidence of that.”

For the complete article, click here. Ambassador Young will appear Sunday morning on Meet the Press, alongside Tom Brokaw, to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy.

About Us

Why Tuesday? is a non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2005 to find solutions to increase voter turnout and participation in elections... More

The Answer

In 1845, before Florida, California, and Texas were states or slavery had been abolished, Congress needed to pick a time for Americans to vote... More

Recent Comments

Patrick, France is a post-Christian secular country. Relatively few of them attend church, and voting on Sunday does not interfere with their religious practices, because most of the population is not religious...

Posted by John on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

In France they last voted on a Sunday. France is despite the Bourbon legacy a largely Catholic country, yet they vote on Sunday...

Posted by Patrick on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

I think weekend voting would make the most sense, as people wouldn't have tu run home after work or wake up early to hit the polling stations beforehand.

Posted by Zander on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?