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Voter Suppression is Alive and Kicking

Voter Suppression is Alive and Kicking

By | October 26th, 2018 | FPA Blogs & News |

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What is voter suppression? It’s when those who are in power use technicalities in our voting system to keep those who are not in power from voting – or to scare them away from voting. It is wrong and it’s an outrage – and they do it because it works.


What is voter suppression? It’s when those who are in power use technicalities in our voting system to keep those who are not in power from voting - or t...

What is voter suppression? It’s when those who are in power use technicalities in our voting system to keep those who are not in power from voting – or to scare them away from voting. It is wrong and it’s an outrage – and they do it because it works.

Voter suppression is alive and well during this close and critical midterm election. It is a top issue in the race for governor in Georgia. In August, state plans to close polling locations in predominantly black Randolph County drew outrage. In October, The Associated Press reported that more than 53,000 voter registration applications — 70 percent of them from black voters — are on hold after failing to meet the state’s “exact match” law. Georgia law requires an applicant’s information on a voter registration form to exactly match the information on a federal or state database.

That means that applications with a stray comma or hyphen – or some other simple error like a typo or nickname instead of full name – get thrown out of the system. Just for that, 53,000 Georgians may lose their right to vote on November 6th.

And the story gets even more complicated as the decision to “hold” these applications was made by none other than the state’s Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, who is also the Republican candidate for governor.

According to The Hill News Alert, at a 10/23 debate, “Kemp strongly defended himself against these accusations of voter suppressions…But Stacey Abrams, [the Democratic candidate], pushed back saying that “the right to vote is a right” and that “more people have lost the right to vote” under Kemp, saying that he helped create “an atmosphere of fear.”

“Voter suppression isn’t only about blocking the vote. It’s also about creating an atmosphere of fear, making people worry that their votes won’t count,” she said.

On South Dakota’s Native American Indian reservations, sheriffs or other law officials often stand outside polling locations to intimidate voters from entering. In the two counties where the highest number of Native American Indians live, ballot boxes are transported to predominantly white counties to be counted. This year, North Dakota became widely known for a requirement that voters must present a street address at their polling location in order to get a ballot. However, the post office does not give out street addresses on Native American Indian reservations–only post office boxes. Talk about voter disenfranchisement.

President Trump is working hard to instill fear in Latinx voters. He has long cast Hispanics as the enemy simply by demanding “The Wall.” In recent weeks, he has increased the number of raids by ICE, re-ignited the idea of asking citizenship status on the Census, and is now ginning up fears around the migrant caravan from Central America. All of these actions cause fear among hard-working, law-abiding Latino immigrant non-citizens and citizens with voting rights. It is the President’s intent to divide and conquer in order to keep control of Congress, the  Senate, and even the Supreme Court.

According to Tobias Stone in medium.com, voter suppression is predominantly a Republican tactic because it most often seeks to hold back minority voters who most often vote for Democrats. It has become so commonplace that the Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded the United States from a full democracy to a flawed one. Stone lists five main strategies that work to suppress voting.

Gerrymandering: Done at the state level, this is a tactic to draw voting district maps to favor one party over another.

Making it Harder to Vote: Also done by state legislatures, this includes closing some polling locations, determining hours for voting, reducing early voting polling locations — all to prevent people from getting to the polls. Early voting and more lenient times for voting are more inclusive for poorer voters or those on a more inflexible schedule.

Preventing Felons from Voting: Because the criminal justice system has a bias against the Black population, restricting people convicted of a felony creates another bias against black voters, who are more likely to vote for a Democrat.

Voter ID Laws: Requiring specific government-issued ID in order to vote, tends to affect poor, elderly, and Black voters as they are less likely to have such an ID–like a driver’s license. In North Carolina, a government study suggests their strict voter ID laws may have reduced the Democratic vote by up to 3 percent. Nationally, up to 10 percent of all Americans do not have adequate ID to vote under rules requiring ID.

Purging Voters: Removing people from voting rolls if they have not voted recently or do not return a voter card discriminates against low-income people who may move more frequently due to a lack of rent security. It also particularly discriminates against Latinx voters who may speak English as a second language and do not realize the relevance of a voter card. Both the poor and Latinx are more likely to be Democratic voters.

Stacey Abrams got it exactly right in Tuesday night’s debate in Georgia — “suppression isn’t only about blocking the vote. It’s about creating an atmosphere of fear around voting.” One more example of systemic oppression that makes a mockery of “one person, one vote.”

Why do you need a plan to vote?

Why do you need a plan to vote?

By | October 18th, 2018 | FPA Blogs & News |


So…have you thought about what you’re going to do on Election Day? I know….you’re going to vote, right? But it’s really helpful to plan your day so you don’t forget (eek!) or run out of time (I’m sooooo busy!).


So...have you thought about what you're going to do on Election Day? I know....you're going to vote, right? But it's really helpful to plan your day so you...

So…have you thought about what you’re going to do on Election Day? I know….you’re going to vote, right? But it’s really helpful to plan your day so you don’t forget (eek!) or run out of time (I’m sooooo busy!).

Have you thought about these questions?  Here is a guideline to think about as you get ready to vote and consider what to include in your Election Day Plan!

Thinking through these questions will help you get ready for this critical Election Day. 

Vote as if your life depends on it….because it does!

Healthy food should be a right, not a privilege.

#votefood

FPA Urges Congress to Pass Farm Bill That Helps ‘Provide Healthy, Safe, Affordable Food for Everyone.’

FPA Urges Congress to Pass Farm Bill That Helps ‘Provide Healthy, Safe, Affordable Food for Everyone.’

By | October 15th, 2018 | FPA Blogs & News, Press Releases, Press Releases - Food Policy Action |

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WASHINGTON – Food Policy Action Executive Director Monica Mills moderated a press conference today featuring representatives from leading food, farm and environmental organizations, all urging Congress to pass a bipartisan farm bill that will benefit farmers, families, public health and the environment. In addition to FPA, the other organizations that participated in the event included Food Research and Action Center, Environmental Working Group, Union of Concerned Scientists, Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.


WASHINGTON – Food Policy Action Executive Director Monica Mills moderated a press conference today featuring representatives from leading food, farm and ...

WASHINGTON – Food Policy Action Executive Director Monica Mills moderated a press conference today featuring representatives from leading food, farm and environmental organizations, all urging Congress to pass a bipartisan farm bill that will benefit farmers, families, public health and the environment.

In addition to FPA, the other organizations that participated in the event included Food Research and Action Center, Environmental Working Group, Union of Concerned Scientists, Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Below are Mills’ complete remarks she delivered to kick off the event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Good morning. I’m Monica Mills, Executive Director of Food Policy Action. The groups here represent millions of Americans who support a farm bill that protects our families, helps our farmers, and promotes public health and a healthy environment.

This morning we have come together to emphasize how important it is to move the 2018 Farm Bill forward this year. But we’re not talking about just any Farm Bill for 2018—we want to see a farm bill that is GOOD for the Americans we represent.

Food Policy Action supports the efforts going on right now to get to a version that is as close to the Senate bill as possible. FPA will not support movements to include compromises that go back to the House version. To FPA, no farm bill is better than a bad farm bill.

As you know, the House bill passed by just two votes in a strictly partisan manner with no Democrats supporting the bill at all. From its inception through its passage, the House farm bill was a hot mess. It cut SNAP benefits for hungry families and children, it cut protections to ensure poison is kept out of the food on our plates, and it cut funding for local and regional farm programs. All to pay for additional loopholes for wealthy corporate farmers.

In our recent analysis of six years of votes by House members, the data shows that issues around food have become even more partisan than ever before. And, this is not a one-year fluke. The record shows a systematic strategy that opposes policies to create a more balanced food system.

On the other side of the Capitol, the Senate bill passed with 86 votes in a bipartisan fashion. This version protects hungry families and children, leaves intact critical conservation programs, and makes funding permanent for Local Agriculture Market Programs. The Senate Agriculture Committee worked to provide integrity for SNAP along with common-sense employee training programs, including public-private partnership opportunities. We applaud those efforts.

The Farm Bill should really be called the Food Bill because it affects everything that makes its way to our plates. It should provide healthy, safe, affordable food for everyone. And, it should ensure that healthy food is not a luxury. A tomato should not cost more than a package of cookies at a convenience store. But today it does.

For Food Policy Action, the bottom line is that we support a farm bill that is closer to the Senate version and we’d like to see it happen yet this year.

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New Analysis: Food Policy Increasingly Partisan Issue, Despite Popularity Among Voters That Congress Work Across Both Sides of the Aisle

New Analysis: Food Policy Increasingly Partisan Issue, Despite Popularity Among Voters That Congress Work Across Both Sides of the Aisle

By | September 26th, 2018 | FPA Blogs & News, Press Releases - Food Policy Action |

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Data shows that over six years, GOP members repeatedly rejected legislation to feed hungry families, advance sustainability, and keep food safe. In 55 separate votes, House Republicans shot down legislation written to preserve federal food stamps for hungry children and families, safeguard the environment, protect consumers, and support small-acreage farmers, according to analysis released today by Food Policy Action (FPA).


Data shows that over six years, GOP members repeatedly rejected legislation to feed hungry families, advance sustainability, and keep food safe WASHINGTON...

Data shows that over six years, GOP members repeatedly rejected legislation to feed hungry families, advance sustainability, and keep food safe

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In 55 separate votes, House Republicans shot down legislation written to preserve federal food stamps for hungry children and families, safeguard the environment, protect consumers, and support small-acreage farmers, according to analysis released today by Food Policy Action (FPA).

An Eater’s Guide to Congress, which analyzes critical food and agriculture votes over the past six years, finds that House Republicans have an average score of only 20 percent on votes that affect how food gets to our plates. In comparison, Democratic members received an average score of 93 percent.

“We are currently watching House Republicans hold up the reauthorization of the 2018 Farm Bill, which expires on September 30, using food issues as a partisan divide,” said Monica Mills, Executive Director of FPA. “Republicans have voted to allow toxic chemicals to be added to our water and soil, made it harder for hungry families to get assistance, and given big agribusinesses additional loopholes for government payments. And, all of this has been done at the expense of hard-working small family farmers.”

An Eater’s Guide rates food- and agriculture-related votes taken by each member of the House in five categories: the 2018 Farm Bill, Feeding Hungry People, Ensuring Healthy Soil and Clean Water, Knowing What’s In Our Food, and Supporting Small Family Farmers Over Big Ag.

Individual members are assigned scores in each category, as well as an overall score. Republican leaders received some of the lowest overall scores of any members: Speaker Paul Ryan, Wisc., received 16 percent; Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Calif., earned 13 percent; and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, La., had a meager 11 percent score.

“Food policy has been a strong issue for voters over the years and across party lines,” said Celinda Lake, Principal at Lake Research Partners, pollster and political strategist. “Access to affordable and healthy food is of personal importance for Americans across the country and a candidate’s stance or voting history on these important issues is politically powerful and can certainly help differentiate those from others in a wide field of strong contenders.”

An Eater’s Guide is accompanied by a digital toolkit, designed to show voters how their own members of Congress voted on important food and farm policies; how to ask questions of their elected representatives; actions to take between now and Election Day; and, most importantly, where to vote to make sure their views are represented.

See the complete report at  http://www.foodpolicyaction.org/an-eaters-guide-to-congress to find out more about how members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted on food and agriculture issues.

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Food Policy Action was established in 2012 through a collaboration of national food policy leaders in order to hold legislators accountable on votes that have an effect on food and farming. Our goal is to change the national dialogue on food policy by educating the public on how elected officials are voting on these issues. Through education and the annual National Food Policy Scorecard, more people will be armed with the information they need to vote with their forks and elect more food policy leaders across the country.

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Food Policy Action's Mission / Our Mission

Our mission is to highlight the importance of food policy and to promote policies that support healthy diets, reduce hunger at home and abroad, improve food access and affordability, uphold the rights and dignity of food and farm workers, increase transparency, improve public health, reduce the risk of food-borne illness, support local and regional food systems, protect and maintain sustainable fisheries, treat farm animals humanely and reduce the environmental impact of farming and food production. Food Policy Action promotes positive policies through education and publication of the National Food Policy Scorecard.

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