Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach made headlines again in his unending efforts to restrict voting rights. This time, Kobach was found in contempt of court because he “violated a court order that required his office to inform certain people that they were eligible to cast a ballot while a lawsuit challenging a state law requiring proof of U.S. citizenship worked its way through the courts.” The state law was enacted by Kobach in 2013, and by December 2015, “more than 35,000 Kansans had been disenfranchised — approximately 14 percent of all registration applications since the requirement went into effect.”
This isn’t the first time Kobach has attempted to limit voting rights for certain communities. He has a long history of suppressing minorities’ right to vote, using tactics such as severe registration restrictions and promoting the myth of voter fraud. He even led Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which was simply a propaganda machine by the Trump administration to fuel Trump’s false claims that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election—a claim he continues to repeat to this day. In reality there were only four documented cases of voter fraud in 2016. Thankfully, this commission was disbanded, but Kobach remains focused on limiting one of the most important rights citizens have in our democracy.
Make sure you’re armed with the facts about voting in America by reading Five Truths About Voter Suppression and Keeping Voters off the Rolls: Impact of Documentary Proof of Citizenship and Illegal Voter Purges. Remember, the bottom line is this: Widespread voter fraud is a nasty myth perpetuated to justify attempts to suppress the vote in ways that disproportionately impact people of color.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#ProtectMueller. Last week the nation was on alert that Donald Trump was about to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s boss—because of his involvement in the independent investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Trump didn’t fire him last week, but yesterday refused to take that option off the table. Trump has threatened to fire Mueller and now Rosenstein. Call your senators today at 202-224-3121 to demand that they support bipartisan legislation to protect Mueller and the Russia investigation and defend the rule of law.
Power’s Out—Again. Nearly seven months after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory is facing another island-wide power outage. Officials announced yesterday that it would take 24 to 36 hours to fully restore power. This does not include the approximately 100,000 residents that have been without power since last September. This new outage highlights the barriers still facing the island, as its residents struggle to recover from the devastation caused by Maria. It’s another sign that the Trump administration is not doing nearly enough to help Puerto Ricans, and the dereliction of duty by the Trump administration is causing serious health and environmental risks. Instead of using dog-whistles about how Puerto Ricans “want everything done for them,” lawmakers must promote equity & provide long-term aid to disaster-affected regions.
#BootPruitt. Yesterday, Senator Tom Udall, Representative Kathy Castor, and 170 other members of Congress released a resolution calling on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to resign. This demand comes after months of reporting on Pruitt’s wasteful spending and culture of corruption that he’s encouraged at the EPA, from illegally spending $43,000 on a soundproof phone booth for his office to spending only $50 per night to stay at a lobbyist’s house on the Hill. This resolution makes history for the most Senators ever to sign onto a resolution calling for a Cabinet member’s resignation, beating the previous record of 29 by a whole ten Senators. Join these members of Congress in demanding his resignation by going to BootPruitt.com.
“There’s Something About Her I Just Don’t Like.” Jennifer Palmieri, former communications director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign; former White House communications director for President Barack Obama; current President of Center for American Progress Action Fund, and author of the No. 1 New York Times best-seller Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World, joins Michele and Igor on the Center for American Progress’ Thinking CAP to discuss the battle to elect the first female president. Palmieri outlines what is still ahead for women in the workplace and in politics to confront. She shares how President Donald Trump has changed the political theater, especially in political communications, and what that will mean for candidates running in 2020.
UNDER THE RADAR
Denying Protections to Vulnerable Children. The Trump administration has secretly made changes to the Special Immigrant Juvenile status, “which lets children under the age of 21 who have been abused, abandoned or neglected by one or both parents obtain a green card.” According to reports, the change lowers the age of eligibility to 18, so individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 are ineligible for protections. In rhetoric, Trump has falsely linked many of these young recipients with the MS-13 gang, calling them “animals.” Once again, we see the Trump administration limiting the ability of immigrants to secure critical protections—just as Attorney General Jeff Sessions has done to speed up the deportation of immigrants by eliminating well-established due process rights of immigrants seeking protection in the U.S.