Discover more from New Voters Newsletter
Fall Kickoff: Your Voice, Your Vote 🍁
Gen-Z Voter Registration Efforts
A newsletter giving you handcrafted monthly updates about our voter registration efforts in our goal to register one million youth voters.
🏛 Voting Rights Within The News
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA), which has been recently reintroduced in Congress, is a vital response to the increasing challenge posed by voter restrictions. It aims to restore and enhance the robust voting protections initially established by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA).
This legislation is named after the iconic civil rights figure John Lewis and has a primary objective of addressing a significant issue that emerged following the Supreme Court's 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. In that case, crucial provisions of the VRA were invalidated, including the mechanism that prevented states with a history of voting discrimination from making changes to voting laws and practices without federal oversight. Consequently, this allowed states and localities to enact discriminatory measures like voter ID laws and redistricting, which disproportionately affected marginalized groups such as:
People of Color
Those with disabilities
To illustrate, transgender individuals encounter unique challenges related to voting discrimination, primarily due to issues related to identification documents. Many transgender people lack accurate identification documents reflecting their gender identity due to legal or financial barriers. As a result, these individuals either abstain from voting or face barriers when attempting to vote due to identification requirements that do not align with their gender identity.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act seeks to address these issues by:
Modernizing the VRA's method for identifying jurisdictions with discriminatory practices
Mandating advance notice of voting changes.
Broadening the government's authority to deploy federal observers to regions at substantial risk of discrimination during elections.
This legislation, introduced by Rep. Terri Sewell in the House of Representatives and Sen. Patrick Leahy in the Senate, successfully passed the House in August 2021. This achievement represents a pivotal step toward revitalizing and preserving voting rights in the United States. Ultimately, the VRAA is a critical endeavor to combat voter discrimination, safeguard minority voting rights, and ensure equitable access to the electoral process for all Americans.
🌟 New Voters Updates
New Voters is ecstatic to announce that we’ve welcomed a new cohort of youth interns for the Fall 2023 cycle! They will be working these next few weeks to ensure that, as young people, our voices are heard and our votes are counted!
The Communications team is hard at work collaborating with partners such as National Voter Registration Day, the Texas Freedom Network, The Polling Place, and Pennsylvania Representative Melissa Shusterman to boost youth voter engagement across the United States. The interns have also been creating and posting content to our social accounts and consolidating press contacts for outreach.
Over the last week, Pennsylvania has changed its voting laws, allowing for youth to be automatically registered to vote when they get their driver's license. Due to this, the Policy Department is no longer continuing with the HB2699 bill advocacy and its press conference. They continue to work on our PA YAC and Bill Tracker while creating some new projects moving forward.
The Tech Department is working on some very cool tools that will be leveraged by other New Voters departments. In the summer, the department was hard at work on a Bill Tracker that will be launched soon with the Policy Department. Currently, the department developing a Data Analytics Dashboard that will help the Comms Department monitor social media and website data which will be helpful when creating content for our various online platforms!
Our Operations team will be soon launching their first wave of fall outreach to expand the New Voters impact into new communities. They have also been following up with summer lawmaker contacts, reaching out to summer fellow requests, and sending out a secondary wave of State Leads logistical support. This is all in addition to the department updating New Voters-wide curriculum documents.
The Development Department has been enacting an abundance of research to strategize ways to augment our funding. They also ran our National Voter Registration Day fundraiser and are compiling new outreach contacts. Finally, the team will start writing grant applications soon.
🤝 Get Involved!
An Interesting Virtual Seminar - How Collaboration Led Me to NASA
Lindy Elkins-Tanton, a planetary scientist and the Principal Investigator of NASA's Psyche mission, shares her career journey from being a single mom to her current role as a science leader. She emphasizes the significance of collaborative projects where all team members have opportunities for success, guiding her career decisions. This session is a free online event taking place on November 2, 2023, aiming to define foundational values for leadership in various fields.
The APIA Scholarship
This scholarship is currently open for applications until December 6, 2023, and is available to undergraduate students of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) descent enrolled in any accredited U.S. university or college. This scholarship program offers awards ranging from $2,500 for one year to $20,000 for multiple years. It places a particular emphasis on supporting AANHPI students who face economic hardships, are first-generation college attendees, and represent the diversity of the AANHPI community, especially those from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds. Strong candidates for this scholarship also demonstrate a commitment to community service and leadership.
The Next Gen Politics Civic Fellowship
This is a program dedicated to empowering the youth to become informed and active citizens in today's political landscape. Throughout the first semester, participants will meet monthly to discuss critical issues such as criminal justice, democracy, freedom of expression, and immigration from various viewpoints. The program starts with an in-person or online Civic Orientation, followed by Civic Forums on specific dates. Successful completion of the first semester allows participants to apply for a spring Civic Action Project internship. Commitment to active participation and being on camera is essential for community and knowledge building. The application deadline is October 3rd for those outside of NY.
Jahnavi, Nivea, and the New Voters Team