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Together We Can End Inequality
Welcome to the Publications section of our website where you can browse through publications of various types. You can narrow down your search by a publication's name or its type using the search options above.
Most state and local governments count incarcerated persons as residents of the prison communities where they are incarcerated when drawing election district lines, despite the fact that prisoners are not integrated into those communities and are not residents there.
The Next Phase of the Voting Rights Movement: Freeing the Vote for People with Felony Convictions
Securing the right to vote for the disfranchised—persons who have lost their voting rights as a result of a felony conviction—is widely recognized as the next phase of the voting rights movement. Nationwide, more than 5.3 million Americans who have been convicted of a felony are denied access to the one fundamental right that is the foundation of all other rights. Only Maine and Vermont do not restrict voting on the basis of a felony conviction, and allow inmates to vote from prison by absentee ballot.
Shortly after the 2010 Census, states throughout the country will redraw the lines that determine how to divide the population of each state into electoral districts—a process called redistricting. The composition of a district affects election outcomes and determines representation at the federal, state, and local levels. In most states, redistricting is carried out by members of the legislature. But on the eve of the quickly approaching 2010 redistricting cycle, voters and elected officials in a number of states across the country are considering a range of proposals that aim to alter the redistricting process. One such proposal is to create Independent Redistricting Commissions (IRCs). An IRC is a committee composed of appointed officials who assume responsibility for redistricting within a state.
Your participation in the 2010 Census is vital to ensuring that you have an equal voice in government and access to federal and state funding for your community.
It is important to resist the urge to embrace this oversimplified interpretation of the 2008 Presidential Election. To be sure, significant work still lies ahead. Notwithstanding the election of President Obama, the severe challenges facing African Americans remains daunting. Racial minorities in the United States continue to suffer from deplorable public schools, chronic unemployment, substandard housing and healthcare, intense residential segregation, and striking rates of over-incarceration. Clearly, discrimination has not been eliminated, as some contend; rather, it remains an integral component of complex and enduring social and political systems that promote racial inequality. One such system lies at the heart of our democracy: voting and elections.
Annual Report of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. for years 2007-2009
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is both a symbol and sword. It embodies the nation’s aspirations toward greater political fairness and stands as a defense against efforts to stray from these commitments. The Act is generally regarded as our nation’s most effective federal civil rights statute, and includes a set of very powerful and important tools for combating persisting discrimination against minority voters. It is the law that first made the promises of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments meaningful in the area of voting.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
That “inescapable network of mutuality” described by Martin Luther King, Jr. begins in our communities. Where we live shapes our lives, our interactions with others, our work life, our health, and our education. Each of us has a role to play in creating communities that are welcoming, safe, and open to all.
Since 1994, the State of Mississippi has allowed juvenile offenders to be sentenced to life without parole. In Mississippi, children as young as thirteen may receive such a sentence. The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) has identified 25 young men serving a sentence of life without parole in Mississippi.