Power of the Ballot.

Today is National Voter Registration Day! Voting is a crucial right we have as American citizens, and it is one of the best ways to make our voices heard. Yet, according to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. “trails most developed countries in voter turnout.” And voter turnout was at a 20-year low in 2016, with only “55 [percent] of voting age citizens cast ballots this year.”

How could we increase our embarrassingly low voter turnout rate? A key way to ensure that more people are registered would be automatic voter registration nationwide. This is especially true for young people, as a quarter of them were not even registered in the 2016 presidential election. A report from the Center for American Progress found that “voter registration has been associated with high voter turnout rates.” Ten states have already established automatic voter registration, including, most recently, Illinois. Check out a video from Generation Progress about why it could revolutionize our democratic system here.

However, low turnout rate is not simply caused by inconvenience or apathy. It is also caused by a concerted effort by some politicians to suppress votes, especially those of people of color, poor people, and the elderly. One method commonly used by Republican-controlled state legislatures is gerrymandering, wherein district lines are redrawn to either scatter votes in communities of color or low income, or pack them all into one district. In many cases, this changes the entire political landscape of a state. Sometimes gerrymandered district lines are found to be illegal due if they clearly target race, but a case headed to the Supreme Court this fall would challenge if extreme partisan gerrymandering would also be considered unconstitutional. Another common tool in the voter suppression repertoire comes in the form of voter ID laws, which disproportionately affect communities of color.

The Trump Administration has been especially dedicated to suppressing votes, as seen in the creation of the President’s Commission on Election Integrity. This commission is merely a sham to support Trump’s wild claims that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election—which has been proved false. It also is based on the idea of widespread voter fraud, which is simply a myth. Not only has this administration attempted to suppress the vote through policy action, but they also have taken to the sidelines in regards to Russia’s interference in the last election. Congress is also refusing to take key steps to protect our local and state election systems, as they recently voted against the Graham-Klobuchar amendment in the National Defense Reauthorization Act.

ACTION OF THE DAY

#ProtectOurCare. Three GOP Senators have voiced their opposition to the Graham-Cassidy bill. While right now it looks like the fight is over, Congressional Republicans continue to negotiate to win the votes they need, so we can’t let up for one minute! Use our toolkit to call senators, and tell them to #VoteNo. Keep the phones ringing! If you’re in D.C. today, come to our Speakout at Capitol Hill at 3pm.

If you’re just catching up with the newest version of Trumpcare, learn about the bill’s impacts in the latest Thinking CAP podcast, with health care expert, Andy Slavitt. Share the graphic below with your social networks. Watch this moving video from ProgressNow Colorado about the devastating impact that Graham-Cassidy will have on people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid. And then, head to ResistanceNearMe.org to find events in your city that are happening this week!

WHAT’S TRENDING

Unwarranted Search. Department of Homeland Security has instituted a new rule that will go into effect next month that includes “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results” in investigations into people. This move would affect all immigrants, including naturalized citizens. According to an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, “There’s a growing trend at the Department of Homeland Security to be snooping on the social media of immigrants and foreigners and we think it’s an invasion of privacy and deters freedom of speech.” This new policy aligns with the rest of the Trump administration’s plan to limit legal immigration and stoke fears, all under the guise of national security.

War of Words. Yesterday, North Korea’s foreign minister claimed that President Trump’s harsh words at the United Nations General Assembly last week were interpreted by Pyongyang as a declaration of war. He also asserted that, because the United States was the “first to declare war,” North Korea has “every right” to take self-defensive measures, including shooting down US strategic bombers, even when they are not inside North Korea’s airspace. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly refuted these claims, calling the assertion that the United States has declared war “absurd.” Nonetheless, North Korea has reportedly reinforced defenses on the country’s east coast, further escalating this dangerous and childish war of words that could eventually lead to catastrophic action. Trump’s advisers would do well to convince him to take an alternative path with North Korea, like getting real on sanctions.

Rank Hypocrisy. After news broke last weekend about Jared Kushner’s use of a private email account to conduct official White House business, it was revealed yesterday that at least six of President Trump’s closest advisors utilized private email accounts to discuss White House matters. The list includes Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Gary Cohn, and Stephen Miller. Speaking on the news, Secretary Hillary Clinton called out the “rank hypocrisy” of the Trump campaign making her private emails a central focus of the 2016 campaign, only to then use private email accounts themselves. Like we’ve said before, the double standard is very apparent.

UNDER THE RADAR

Disgusting. Today, President Trump’s nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation is arguing in front of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals against a rule that protects workers’ exposure to a substance that causes fatal lung disease. Currently an attorney at the law firm, Hunton & Williams, William Wehrum was nominated to lead EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation earlier this month. His nomination hearing in front of the Senate EPW committee was postponed last week. According to the Department of Labor, the rule that Wehrum is arguing against will annually save more than 600 lives, prevent more than 900 cases of an incurable lung disease, silicosis, every year. The agency also has estimated that it will provide net benefits of about $7.7 billion annually.