| Get the Picture

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While progress is rarely linear, events along the way serve as turning points. The Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, which marks its 55th anniversary on August 6, is one of those points. When it became law, the VRA boosted Black voter turnout and provided a legal framework to challenge voting restrictions in places where it wasn’t enforced. 

But as the current racial justice movement shows us, there is still much progress to be made regarding equality in America. In the 2013 Shelby County vs. Holder case, the Supreme Court swept away a key provision of the VRA, opening the floodgates to laws restricting voting across the United States. Since the Shelby case, states previously covered by the VRA have engaged in significant efforts to disenfranchise voters, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. 

Throughout history, it has been the American people who have continued the work toward equality for all—many times through the amendment process. Equality is at the core of the American Promise movement, which works to ensure a voice and representation for every American through an amendment to establish reasonable limits on money in politics so that our nation’s policies work better for all. Through our grassroots, nationwide movement, we can continue to advance widespread reforms to ensure that all Americans have the voice and vote they deserve.

Easy Action Item

Jeff Clements
President, American Promise
How the Right to Vote and the 28th Amendment Together Ensure a Voice for All Americans
As executive director of the nonpartisan nonprofit MassVOTE, Cheryl Clyburn Crawford leads efforts to increase voter participation in Massachusetts. As a founding member of the American Promise Advisory Council, Cheryl advocates for the 28th Amendment to reduce the influence of big money in politics. She shared how the work of both organizations overlaps during a recent webinar conversation. 
Hear More from Cheryl
Accepting the Challenge to Empower Voters and Ensure Equality

Americans are in a huge moment of possibility for profound reform—and are rising to the challenge of reshaping our democracy for the 21st century and beyond.

This vision for a more resilient, inclusive and effective democracy calls for crucial reforms that fall into six broad strategy areas. The first—focused on equality of voice and representation—includes the 28th Amendment to put limits on election spending, while the second highlights empowerment of voters to strengthen the election process.

Join American Promise in accepting the challenge to limit the influence of money in politics, enhance voting rights, and realize the promise of our democracy. 
Accept the Challenge!
| American Promise Candidate Pledge
Want to help create a democracy that works for all of us and not just wealthy elites? Ask candidates in your area to sign the American Promise Candidate Pledge. By signing the pledge, candidates like U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio commit to advance a constitutional amendment to end unlimited political spending—and let voters know where they stand on the issue.
Ask Your Candidates to Sign the Pledge
Pledge to Serve in Your Community on Election Day

There’s a national poll worker shortage that’s leading to closed election sites and long lines—effectively disenfranchising some voters. That’s why we’ve joined Power the Polls to help ensure that voting is safe, fair, and easy for all. Register online to connect with your local election office and learn more about serving as a poll worker.
Register to Power the Polls
| Dysfunction on Display
The issue: Over the past decade, half the states have adopted voting restrictions that disproportionately affect people of color, as the Brennan Center for Justice outlines in this issue brief. The COVID-19 pandemic has created new concerns this year about safety at the polls and how that might affect voter rights. 

The action: American Promise has joined Fix the System, with other allies including RepresentUs and Unite America, to ensure that citizens have the resources they need so they can vote safely in their state while also protecting public health. Learn more about remote voting and other options.
| Upcoming American Promise Events

August 5: In the midst of one of the state’s most expensive elections, the Stand with Maine campaign helps Mainers share their voice so they control local elections rather than out-of-state interests. The group’s monthly call will feature Maine environmental leaders who see the connection between ensuring clean air and water in the state, and limiting the political influence of special interest groups only concerned with their bottom line. 6:30 p.m. ET. Learn more and RSVP online.

August 6: Join us as we launch a series of quarterly calls to explore the best way to lift up the unique role the business voice can play in working to limit out-of-control spending in our political system. Legislators often assume that business is in favor of our current pay-to-play politics. This puts business leaders in a powerful position to help set the record straight: Current spending rules that foster pay-to-play do not help business; rather, they threaten innovation, healthy markets, and economic growth. 8 p.m. ET. Learn more and RSVP online.

More online: Watch the American Promise calendar for event updates and check our YouTube Channel for recordings of many of our past events.
| What We’re Tracking This Week

From Cleveland.com: Ellen Greene Bush of American Promise Ohio Chapter says in this letter to the editor that a constitutional amendment limiting money in elections would give women more opportunities in politics. “A better democracy would include a system where women do not have to prove their electability to donors, but rather express their commitment to voters.” Read more.

The Fulcrum: Several states are expanding absentee voting options due to health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Voters in Minnesota, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, as well as Alabama, Vermont, and Connecticut will have added vote-by-mail options this year.

From Issue One: Ten key numbers from the latest presidential campaign finance filings show that money continues to pour into the 2020 race, despite the coronavirus pandemic. Read more.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune: In a letter to the editor, Mark Davison of Maple Grove, Minnesota, says the influx of money in politics “undermines the fundamental principle of representative democracy” and should be subject to reasonable limits. Read more.

From the Washington Post: The right to vote should not involve health risks, says disability rights advocate Tasha Nelson in this opinion article. “Because of the combination of our voting system and the coronavirus pandemic, for the first time in my life, I am terrified to vote. To vote I must quite literally put my life at risk.” Read more.

From Washington Monthly: David Burke, founder of Citizens Take Action, argues that an amendment is the only way forward: “The problems caused by big money in politics are
important enough that we cannot afford to wait for the court to change its mind. And the reforms we can use within the current system are simply not enough. Neither more disclosure requirements nor publicly financed elections can stop billionaires from spending unlimited amounts of money.” Read more.

From the Fulcrum: American Promise is part of a coalition of democracy reform groups asking the Democratic Party to prioritize fix-the-system proposals in its political platform. Protecting voter rights and ending the corruptive power of big money in politics are key components in the reforms. Read more.

American Promise empowers Americans to act together to win the 28th Amendment so people, not money, govern in America.
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