‘Drumbeat of Activism’ Still Permeates Our Communities

They called it Freedom Summer – 10 weeks in 1964 when more than 700 student volunteers from around the country joined organizers and local activists in a historic effort to end the vestiges of racial oppression across the South, including what PBS described as “one of the nation’s most viciously racist, segregated states.” That state was Mississippi. And before it was over, three men – James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner – were viciously beaten and killed by the …

Court Rules on Voting Rights: What It Means for You

In two decisions this term, the Supreme Court has changed the political landscape on voting rights. Reaction to the court’s latest decision, in Shelby County v. Holder, ranged from outrage (“Supremes Gut Voting Rights Act” at Huffington Post) to just-the-facts-ma’am (“Supreme Court voids key part of Voting Rights Act because law uses data ‘that does not reflect racial progress in U.S.’” at NYPost.com). What will these decisions mean for older voters? In our coverage of voter registration issues during the …

Should You Have to Prove Citizenship to Register to Vote?

Is requiring proof of citizenship for voters a way to protect the integrity of elections? Or is it an illegal tactic that will keep many older Americans and minorities away from the polls? On March 18 the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on both sides of that issue in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona. Under the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, people can register by mail to vote in federal elections using a standard form that, among other …

Not Yet Registered to Vote? In Most States There’s Still Time, But You’d Better Hurry

One strange and sometimes troubling thing about American democracy is that a lot of us don’t participate in it. According to a 2006 Pew Research Center study, about one in five adults aren’t registered to vote, and another 23 percent are “registered but rare” voters, who hardly ever show up at the polls. It’s as if we’ve forgotten that there were was a time, not that too long ago – 1964, to be exact – when three American heroes named Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael …