This Week in Voter Suppression July 13 – 19

By Chris deLaubenfels, Director of Policy and Communications, Let America Vote

Contempt and the Census

On Wednesday, Congress voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas related to why the Trump administration wanted to add the citizenship question to the 2020 census. Last month, AG Barr and Sec. Ross refused to provide documents to Congress that likely showed that the Trump administration wanted to add a citizenship question to the census because it would help Republicans and would undercount voters of color. But because the citation must be referred to the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. — of which AG Barr is in charge — it is unlikely the contempt citation will go anywhere .

ICYMI the good news is, in a huge victory for democracy, last week Trump announced he would stop seeking to add the racist, illegal citizenship question to the 2020 census. On Tuesday, a federal judge officially blocked the citizenship question from going on the 2020 census. That same day, plaintiffs challenging the citizenship question filed a motion seeking penalties against Trump administration lawyers for engaging in “litigation conduct that is nothing less than a fraud.”

Suppressing the Student Vote in the Granite State

This month, a New Hampshire voting law that suppresses the vote of college students went into effect. HB 1284 was passed in 2018 and requires any eligible voters who live in New Hampshire to declare residency and acquire a New Hampshire license within 60 day or face a penalty. This is a poll tax that will suppress the vote of individuals domiciled in New Hampshire — in particular college students. Gov. Chris Sununu stated that he “hated” a similar voter suppression measure that had been introduced, but still signed the law.

This term, Democratic legislators passed bills (HB 105, HB 106) that would repeal HB 1284, but those bills have sat on Gov. Sununu’s desk. This is a huge blow for voting rights in the Granite State.

Win for Fair Maps

On Tuesday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a newly drawn legislative map in Utah. New district maps were drawn in San Juan County because a district court found that the old map was racially gerrymandered and violated the rights of Navajo voters. This is an important win as gerrymandered maps are an affront to our democracy.

Voting Out Racists

In a week marred by President Trump’s racist tweets and rally, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II powerfully framed how we can fight back: 

If you don’t like what’s happening in America, here’s where you can go: to the ballot box. And commit to register a new voter everyday to go w/ you!” 

We need to vote out Pres. Trump and all the Republicans that enable his racism in 2020!