On Friday, Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) introduced legislation that would effectively ban requirements that voters show some form of official identification in federal elections. Under the proposed law, voters without required identification would still be able to vote by signing a sworn affidavit that they are the person they represent themselves to be.
While government in Washington, D.C., remains divided and marked by long-term gridlock, governments in the states are much less divided. Of the 50 states, 37 now feature state governments where the governor and majorities in both legislative houses are controlled by one party—24 of those are controlled by Republicans. Extreme, anti-working family Republicans have repeatedly assaulted the rights of people in recent years and, by all accounts, the trend looks to expand in 2013. Working families are mobilized and fought back in 2012 and will continue to fight in 2013. The response to the "right to work" for less push in Michigan was so strong, that governors in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have since declared that they won't push for right to work in their states.
Here’s a look at a number of other key working-family races and ballot issues from yesterday’s elections.
In several U.S. Senate races where Republican, corporate and super PAC cash looked like it would make the difference, union members’ get-out-the-vote activism and votes helped push working-family candidates to victory. Democrats now have 55 senate seats. Elizabeth Warren defeated Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Tim Kaine beat George Allen in Virginia. Rep. Tammy Baldwin overcame Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, Sen. Jon Tester defeated challenger Rep. Denny Rehberg in Montana and Sen. Sherrod Brown won over Josh Mandel in Ohio. Other Senate wins include Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).
As unpatriotic as it sounds, some people would deny American citizens the right to vote, even those who are fully entitled to cast their ballot. The only way to make sure to avoid being the victim of such tactics is to know what your rights are and know who to talk to if you have a problem.
Poll monitors work outside polling locations on Election Day to greet voters, answer questions and report problems. This year, more poll monitors than ever are needed. Restrictive photo ID laws have challenged the right to vote, the cornerstone of democracy. Despite victories in Pennsylvania, where the photo ID law will not be in effect, and the restoration of early voting in Ohio, the battle is not over.
More than 200 union lawyers are prepared to combat any efforts to intimidate voters or suppress the vote and to ensure that everyone’s right to vote is protected between now (early voting is under way in many states) and Election Day.
The members of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee (LCC)—union lawyers in law firms and union legal departments—are “on the front lines to protect the votes of working families,” said AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker in a telephone press conference today.