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Ellen Buchman Vice President for Field Operations The Leadership Conference Education Fund June 5, 2014 MOVING VOTING RIGHTS FORWARD.

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Presentation on theme: "Ellen Buchman Vice President for Field Operations The Leadership Conference Education Fund June 5, 2014 MOVING VOTING RIGHTS FORWARD."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ellen Buchman Vice President for Field Operations The Leadership Conference Education Fund June 5, 2014 MOVING VOTING RIGHTS FORWARD

2  Legislative Threshold: What’s needed in a bill?  Constitutional  Can Pass Congress  Protects Voters From Racial And Ethnic Discrimination Voting Rights Amendment Act

3  What did we get in the bill? Federal Observers Notice/Transparency Preclearance Coverage Enhanced Bail-In Procedures Preliminary Relief Where It’s Needed Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (VRAA)

4  Voter ID  The narrow, yet problematic, language “carving out” voter ID laws from being cited as a reason for “bailing in” a state or locality for preclearance.  Practice-based Trigger and Other Protections  More is needed to narrow a legislative trigger to further protect minority voters. What’s Not So Good About This Bill

5 Communications

6 Overall Message Theme We need modern, commonsense fixes to protect everyone’s right to vote and make sure every American is treated fairly at the ballot box.

7 Initial Messages Educate Urgency and Fairness Threat Real Support Bipartisanship Endorse Key Fixes Not about Politics

8 Audiences General Public Grassroots and Interested Public Grasstops and Allies Elite Media, Influencers Policymakers

9 Communications Strategies Drive Self-InterestFlip the Conventional WisdomEmphasize Commonsense Progress

10 Message Values and Threats Values Inform Inoculate against Politics Modernize Fairness Uniformity Threats x Problem Solved x Gov’t Can’t Be Trusted x Overreach x Unequal Treatment x Political x Court Spoken

11 Message Trajectory Jan-Feb Bipartisan praise March-April Bipartisan urgency May Measured impatience June Ultimatum and confrontation, with attention to the June 25 one-year marker of the decision in Shelby County July+ (IF VRAA NOT ADVANCED) Conflict

12 Week 7 (May 12-18): “VISIBILITY AND UNITY” Week 6 (May 19-25): “PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT” Week 5 (May 26- June 1): “PRESSURE” Week 4 (June 2- June 8): “ESCALATION” Week 3 (June 9-15): “IMPATIENCE” Week 2 (June 16-22): “ULTIMATUM” Week 1 (June 23-29): “CONFRONTATION” Week-by-Week Themes and Activities

13

14 Vote for Voting Rights: A New Social Media Campaign Coalition groups will be leading an enhanced social media campaign, in order to synchronize online outreach, involve the base, and demonstrate pressure from civil rights organizations and the general public. The core concept of the campaign is that any time an individual or institution posts on a social media platform (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) about the VRAA, they are casting a “vote” for the VRAA and voting rights. Elements of the new “Vote for Voting Rights” social media campaign include: Ask: Organizations should ask their members and the public to show why they are “voting” for the VRAA. This includes asking people to post pictures filling out a mock ballot, make a video about why voting rights is important, or write about the importance of free and fair voting. These asks can be disseminated through social media or an action alert. Targets: Using Twitter in particular, organizations and individuals should also “tweet at” figures such as Rep. Goodlatte, Rep. Cantor, and others, to ensure they feel the pressure of this new campaign. Hashtag: The main hashtag for the new voting rights campaign will remain #VRA4Today, as it already has gained awareness and traction after the January rollout.

15 1. Twitter The goal of the Twitter elements of the campaign is to create an echo chamber of on-message tweets to show escalated pressure on Congress to advance the VRAA and engage more members of the public around this fight. This includes original tweets and steady retweeting, as well as engagement with individuals who are also tweeting. Twitter will also be a great medium to lift up articles, op-eds, and other on-message pieces about the VRAA.

16 Sample Tweets General The right to vote is under threat and now is the time for Congress to act! RT to cast your vote for #VotingRights! #VRA4Today It’s time to protect the right to vote for all. Congress must ensure we have a #VRA4Today. That’s why we vote for #VotingRights! Tell Congress to pass a modern #VRA to protect voters from racially discriminatory tactics! Learn more: VRA4Today.org #VRA4TodayVRA4Today.org Directed (other target members can be subbed in, using the same now is the time to move the #VRAA forward. We cast our vote for #VotingRights. Hold a hearing on a modern The #VRAA has bipartisan support, and now is the time to act! Stop stalling on a The civil rights community is calling on you to act. Hold a hearing and protect the right to vote for all #VRA4Today

17 Hashtags #VRA4Today #VotingRights #VRAA #VRA #Voting Targets to (Eric Cantor’s

18 2. Sample Facebook Posts Now is the time for Congress to act on the Voting Rights Amendment Act and protect voters from discrimination. Learn more at & contact your members of Congress to cast your “vote” for Voting Rights! Like and Share this to cast YOUR vote for voting rights! Let’s tell Congress it’s time to act on a modern, bipartisan VRA that protects all voters and gives equal access to the ballot box We need your vote to push Congress to act on a modern, bipartisan VRA that protects all voters! Vote for Voting Rights at and tell Congress to act!www.VRAforToday.org With elections coming up in November, we need Congress act on the VRAA without delay. Share this post and tell us why you are casting your vote for voting rights! What’s YOUR reason to vote for voting rights? Share your story below to show Congress it’s time to act on a modern Voting Rights Act today!

19 3. Instagram If your organization has an Instagram account, this is a great place to post a picture of your leadership or staff supporting the VRAA, possibly by casting a mock ballot, visiting a polling place, or writing a short sentence about why you support Voting Rights and how Congress must act. These pictures are also good for twitter. Membership organizations can also ask their members to post a pic to Instagram showing why they vote for voting rights with the hashtag #VRA4Today. 4. Organizations to follow and https://www.facebook.com/CommonCause

20 Field

21  What we need? In-district visits Letters to the Editor Provide information Visit Suggested Field Actions

22 May 28, 2014 Dear Members of Congress: As organizations that collectively represent tens of millions of diverse people of faith across the United States, we write to share our strong support for the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (H.R. 3899/S.1945) and urge its swift passage by both chambers of Congress. Many people of faith proudly fought for the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, which took historic steps to prohibit the discriminatory voting practices that denied and abridged the rights of so many in our communities. The Supreme Court's 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which stripped critical protections for voters in striking down a key provision of the VRA, reminds us that our work is far from complete. The teachings of our respective faiths may diverge on issues of theology and practice, but all speak clearly of the imperative to pursue justice and treat each and every human being with dignity and respect. We are united in standing up for those most at risk of having their voices silenced at the ballot box. We are inspired to do what we can to protect the right of each individual to play a role in shaping the future of our cities, towns, states and nation. What is at stake in this fight is the very nature of our society, whether we can truly call ourselves a democracy in which each citizen can cast a vote to choose our leaders and shape the direction of our country. Chief Justice Roberts called upon Congress to update the Voting Rights Act. Every day that passes without Congressional action brings new voting procedures unreported at best and outright discriminatory at worst. This bill is not perfect. We remain concerned that voter ID laws are treated differently from other potentially discriminatory policies and that a “known practices” formula, which would provide recourse against some of the most common discriminatory practices, is not included. Yet, we are united in the belief that now is the time to build on the critical tools in this legislation and stop discriminatory voting practices wherever they occur. Voting rights legislation has long been—and continues to be—a shining example of bipartisan unity. We urge you to support the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (H.R. 3899/S.1945) and see that its modern, commonsense provisions are swiftly enacted. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely,

23  Capuchin Franciscans of the Province of St. Mary (CT, ME, NH, NY, VT)  Community of Christ  Conference of National Black Churches (CNBC)  Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, New York, NY  Disciples Center for Public Witness (Disciples of Christ)  Disciples Home Missions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)  Disciples Justice Action Network  Evangelical Lutheran Church in America  Faith in Public Life  Franciscan Action Network  Franciscan Friars, TOR, Province of the Immaculate Conception  Franciscans for Justice  Friends Committee on National Legislation  Global Faith and Justice Project, Santa Fe, NM  Global Justice Institute  Hindu American Foundation  International Council of Community Churches  Islamic Society of North America  Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action(JALSA)  Jewish Community Action  Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston  Jewish Council for Public Affairs  Jewish Council on Urban Affairs  Jewish Labor Committee  Jewish Reconstructionist Communities  Jewish Women International  Jews for Racial and Economic Justice  Jews United for Justice

24  Keshet  Leadership Conference of Women Religious  Leadership Team of the Felician Sisters of North America  Leadership Team, Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin, OH  Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office  Metropolitan Community Churches  More Light Presbyterians  National Council of Churches, U.S.A. National Council of Jewish Women  National Council of Jewish Women, Austin Section  National Council of Jewish Women, Maine Section  National Council of Jewish Women, Peninsula Section  National Council of Jewish Women, Seattle Section  National Council of Jewish Women, Texas State Policy Advocacy Network  National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Institute for Welcoming Resources  NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby  Pax Christi USA  PICO National Network  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)  Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.  Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order, Detroit, MI  Rabbinical Assembly  Reconciliation Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)  Reconciling Ministries Network  ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation  Reconstructionist Rabbinical College  Religious Institute

25  Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)  Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE)  Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, PA  Sisters of St. Francis, Sylvania, OH Sojourners  Surat Initiative  The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists  The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries  The Solomon Project  The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring  Union for Reform Judaism  Unitarian Universalist Association  United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries  United Methodist Church-General Board of Church and Society  UNITED SIKHS  Uri L’tzedek  Valley Interfaith Council  Wheaton Franciscans, Wheaton, IL  Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER)

26 Ellen Buchman Vice President for Field Operations The Leadership Conference Education Fund March 5, 2014 Thank You


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