The Challenge of 2014: Regulating the Politics of Money and Voter Protection
The 2012 election cycle saw unprecedented amounts of money flood the political system. While some have minimized the impact of Citizens United v. FEC due to the result at the top of the ticket, the influence of massive, target campaign contributions in other races significantly altered the political landscape at the federal level. When combined with a well funded and systematic effort by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to alter election procedures at the state level, a herculean effort was required by the Department of Justice and the advocacy community to protect equal access to the ballot box. Despite these efforts, however, voters were still required to endure long lines and complained of election irregularities. As we move toward the 2014 midterm elections, the challenges of last year will be heightened due to historically lower turnout levels, the continuing impact of money politics and even more refined voter suppression efforts.
The 2014 election cycle will present two critical legislative challenges: 1). Regulation of election contributions and expenditures and 2). Modernization of the election system, with an emphasis on early voting and enforcement of voter protection laws. We believe the legislative and outreach strategy necessary to achieve the above objectives.
Legislative and Outreach Strategy
Bills to be Introduced
- Voter H.R. 12, the “Voter Empowerment Act of 2013” (Introduced 1/23/13)
- Voter Caging Prevention Act
- Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act
- Democracy Restoration Act (DRA)
- National Month of Voter Registration
- Constitutional Amendments-Campaign Finance
- Preserving Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act
Bill to Amend Voting Rights Act of 2014 as Introduced
- H.R. 3899, the "Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014"
- Section-by-Section of Description of VRA Amendment
- Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder/Voting Rights Act
- Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (Gonzales)
- McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (docket 12-536)
- Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder amicus brief
1/17/13 - Billion-Dollar Democracy: The Unprecedented Role of Money in the 2012 Elections
A Dēmos report on the outside spending from new sources on the first presidential election since Citizens United
Source: Adam Lioz & Blair Bowie, January 2013
2/26/13 - Voting rights back in court
Opinion: Each reauthorization of the 1965 law upholds the democratic ideals of this country.
Source: POLITICO, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner and Rep. John Conyers, February 2013
More on Constitution
Washington, D.C. – Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) and Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) unveiled the findings of a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on actions needed to reduce racial and socioeconomic segregation, and address disparities in K-12 public schools. Ranking Members Conyers and Scott, along with retired Congressman and former Ranking Member George Miller, first requested this report in May 2014.
H.R. 4924, the “Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2016,” is the latest attempt to erode the constitutional right to an abortion guaranteed by Roe v. Wade more than 40 years ago.
Among other things, the bill would make it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion if she or he knows that the procedure is being done because of the race or sex of the fetus or the race of one of the parents, regardless of viability.
As I noted in the 112th Congress, when we last considered this bill, the bill is deeply flawed for a number of reasons.
In 2014, in a unanimous ruling delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, the Supreme Court concluded that the police may not search a cellphone without first demonstrating probable cause.
Citing an obvious Fourth Amendment interest in the vast amount of data we store on—and access from—our personal devices, the Court wrote:
I want to begin by thanking you, Chairman Goodlatte, and your staff, for working with us to develop the amendment before us now.
I also want to thank the members of the Digital Due Process Coalition, many of whom are represented here today, for their tireless dedication to the work of modernizing federal statute for the Internet age.
Over the last few weeks, Mr. Chairman, as we have worked out our few remaining differences on this bill, we have crafted what I believe to be an effective compromise.
Washington, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee has announced its schedule for the week of April 11-15, 2016.
Wednesday, April 13
10:30 a.m. Full Committee Markup
2141 Rayburn House Office Building
S. 125, the “Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2015” (Sen. Leahy, D-VT)
WASHINGTON – Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), and Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-TN) released the following joint statement applauding the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Evenwel v. Abbott to reaffirm the use of total-population data by states to draw state legislative election districts, clarifying the meaning of the “one-person, one-vote” principle:
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Congressman John Conyers (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, together with 31 original cosponsors, introduced H.R. 4754, the Emergency Financial Manager Reform Act of 2016 to address unchecked decision-making powers that appointed emergency financial managers have in financially distressed cities.