How to Fight for Your Rights at the Ballot Box | News & Commentary

With the midterm elections approaching, there is no question that we face a real and existential threat to our basic human rights and the very foundations of American democracy. Fueled by Donald Trump’s election to the presidency in 2016 and heartened by the January 6th uprising of 2021, we have an important opportunity to ensure our elected officials are committed to standing up for the values ​​that we hold on hearts: the right to physical integrity, the right of access to abortion, the right to have your vote counted.

These struggles have shifted to the States in full force. Most people understand the importance of who sits in the governor’s mansion, but it’s also true that secretaries of state, attorneys general, state supreme courts, state legislatures, and county officials all wield extraordinary power in our government. That’s why we’re doubling the number of “down-ballot” elections, where voters can cast an informed vote and hold those elected officials accountable.

The ACLU is non-partisan, so we don’t tell voters who to vote for, but we do educate voters on what’s at stake in an election. Here’s a quick rundown of the types of civil liberties and civil rights issues that could be on your ballot.

American Civil Rights Union

Vote for your values ​​| American Civil Rights Union

Join us in this election by pledging to vote for your values ​​and fight for your rights by encouraging your friends and family to do the same.

Access to abortion is facing a terrifying moment

Because the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. calf, states now have more power to limit or ban abortion treatments outright. So we take our fight to the states and elected officials to create a firewall to protect access to abortion.

Beginning with a ballot initiative in Michigan, we are working to pass Proposal 3, which would ensure every Michigann has the basic right to reproductive freedom, including the ability to make personal medical decisions about pregnancy, birth control, abortion, prenatal care and childbirth. Now more than ever, Michiganders are energized and motivated to protect themselves Roe v. calf through this initiative with a record number of signatures – more than 730,000 – on the ballot.

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In Vermont, we are working to ensure that every Vermonter has the right to make their own reproductive choices, including whether and when to become parents, to use or refuse birth control, or to seek abortion treatment by passing Proposal 5. In Kentucky, our coalition is fighting a constitutional amendment in the November election that would pave the way for a total abortion ban. We urge voters to vote no on Amendment 2 to protect people’s right to control their own personal, private medical decisions.

While electoral action is an important part of our strategy, elected officials at all levels of state government will be involved in either protecting or restricting access to abortion, so we are participating in important state races that will impact that right. Supreme state judges can, and often do, find that state constitutions protect more rights than the US Constitution, making them a powerful backbone against attacks by radical anti-abortion rights minorities. Now the state courts will likely be the final arbiters to decide whether our reproductive freedom is protected in the states. So for the first time, we’re focusing on races ahead of the top state, specifically North Carolina, to achieve a 4-3 majority for abortion rights.

In Kansas, where pro-abortion voters recently defeated an anti-abortion ballot initiative, we must fight to protect that victory by participating in state house races to prevent the legislature from getting enough votes to veto to override the state’s pro-choice governor’s rights. We’re also working to make sure local prosecutors don’t prosecute people accused of having access to an abortion in states that ban medical care by asking voters in places like Maricopa County, Arizona about the Clarify positions of candidates in their district attorney elections. When we raise this issue at races in states that have banned abortion, it puts pressure on politicians not to enforce bans or pass new ones.

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Voting rights are local

In a democracy there is no more fundamental right than the right to vote. This is how we ensure that our voices are heard. This is how we hold politicians accountable. In this way, all other rights guaranteed to us by the federal and state constitutions can be protected. But this right is being attacked from state to state. The Big Lie about the 2020 presidential election has emboldened those who would disenfranchise those they disagree with.

In Michigan, we are opposing voter-suppression efforts that followed the 2020 election and the passage of a 2018 ballot initiative that allowed absentee voting with no apology and same-day registration. We led the 2018 election initiative and stand ready to defend that victory with anti-electoral measures. Proposal 2 provides nine days early voting, requires postage prepaid for mail applications and ballots, requires military and foreign ballots to be counted when postmarked by Election Day, and requires ballot boxes for every 15,000 voters in a city. It will also protect voting from the anti-democratic tactics other states used during the 2020 election by specifying that post-election reviews can be conducted by state and local officials and that electoral bodies can only certify election results based on official vote counts. Proposal 2 will improve election integrity and increase election security by modernizing the way we administer elections to ensure every vote counts.

And in Connecticut, voters can pass a voting measure that allows early voting in the state.

In most states, the integrity of voting depends on the secretary of state as the state’s chief election officer, who is responsible for overseeing and conducting the elections. That’s why we’re educating voters in Arizona, Minnesota and Nevada about candidates for this important office. Secretaries of State can expand voting access by implementing measures such as automatic voter registration and universal mail-in voting, and champion a legislative agenda that pushes for greater access to ballots.

Racial justice and immigrant rights are at stake

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There are many other important issues at stake in these midterm elections. Across the country, voters have an opportunity to send a clear message to elected officials that they oppose efforts to ban books and prevent students and teachers from discussing race and gender in their classrooms. We will not allow politicians to violate our right to learn by imposing their own partisan interests or political and religious beliefs in our classrooms.

We work to ensure that in places like Arizona, immigrant status is not a barrier to education. Proposition 308 would allow anyone who has lived in the state for two or more years and graduated from state high school to attend Arizona colleges, regardless of immigrant status.

In Colorado, the No Evictions Without Representation ballot measure will ensure families in Denver have equal and fair access to legal counsel when faced with housing injustices. This will help ensure that all people – especially communities of color and women who are disproportionately at risk of evictions – have access to safe and stable shelters.

Match your values

Your voice is your voice. Vote for what matters to you and vote for the people you know are protecting what matters to you. Make a plan and recruit friends and family to vote with you. For more information on how to vote for your values ​​and fight for your rights, see our Midterm Conversation Guide available here.

Paid for by the American Civil Liberties Union, Inc., 125 Broad Street, New York, New York 10004 in association with Reproductive Freedom for All.

Paid for by the American Civil Liberties Union, Inc. in association with Vermont for Reproductive Liberty.

Paid for by the American Civil Liberties Union, Inc. in association with Protect Kentucky Access.

Paid by the American Civil Liberties Union, Inc., 125 Broad Street, New York, New York 10004 in coordination with Promote the Vote 2022.

Paid for by the American Civil Liberties Union, Inc. in coordination with the Connecticut Rise PAC Incorporated ACLU.

Paid for by the American Civil Liberties Union, Inc. in coordination with Yes on 308.

Paid for by American Civil Liberties Union, Inc. and authorized by NEWR Denver.

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