Voting Rights

 The ability to vote is one of the most essential rights of any thriving democracy. That is why the Jewish Center for Justice supports and organizes local and national efforts to increase voter registration, educate people about the issues, and assist those who need help in getting to the polls. At the same time, we are working adamantly to quell any attempts by politicians to engage in voter suppression tactics such as reducing early voting and enacting strict voter ID laws.

 

  • Prior to 2013, the Voting Rights Act required certain jurisdictions with a history of discriminatory election practices to obtain federal certification that any intended election change – including voter purge practices – would not harm minority voters and was not enacted with discriminatory intent. In 2013, however, the Supreme Court concluded in Shelby County v. Holder that Congress had inappropriately determined which jurisdictions should be subject to this monitoring process. As a result, jurisdictions previously subject to these requirements no longer needed to make the case that a proposed election change would not harm minority voters. (Source: Brennan Center for Justice)
  • The median county purge rate in the 2008-10 election cycle was 8.4 percent. However, in the election cycle which included the Shelby County decision (2012-14), the median county purge rate increased to 10.6 percent. (Source: Brennan Center for Justice)

Connections: Jewish Sources

For any community matter on which they cannot find common ground, they should convene all taxpayers, and they should agree that each will voice his or her view for the selfless benefit of the community, and they will follow the majority. — Shulchan Arukh, Choshen Mishpat 163:1

If, in your opinion, the majority are about to commit an error in judgment, do not remain silent because they are the majority, but state your view. This applies even if you know beforehand that they will not accept your viewpoint but that of the majority. — The Rashbam commentary on Exodus 23:2 V 1

Rabbi Yitzhak taught, “A ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted.” — Talmud, B’rachot 55a

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