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News & Media

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 3, 2019

CONTACT:
Jeralyn Cave, Advancement Project National Office
jcave@advancementproject.org, (412) 682-0798

Erin Williams, Faith in Action
ewilliams@faithinaction.org, (202) 544-8411, ext. 108

Ft. Lauderdale Hearing Part of National Congressional Hearings to Strengthen Voting Rights Protections

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – On Monday, May 6 at 10:00 a.m. ET, all eyes will be on Florida when the Subcommittee on Elections of the U.S. Committee on House Administration holds its “Field Hearing on Voting Rights and Election Administration in Florida.” Among those scheduled to testify are Andrew Gillum, Former Mayor of Tallahassee and 2018 Florida gubernatorial candidate, and Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project National Office. The event will be livestreamed.

Chaired by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH), the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee held its first hearing in Brownsville, Texas in February as part of a series of “Listening Sessions and Field Hearings on Voting Rights and Elections” to draw attention to the erosion of equal access to voting after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder. The committee previously hosted hearings in Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Ohio and North Dakota.

Adding its support to these hearings is a broad-based collection of racial equity organizations funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The groups — Advancement Project National Office, Asian & Pacific Islander Health Forum, Demos, Faith in Action, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Urban League, Race Forward and UnidosUS – are reaching into the communities they represent to ensure voices of color are heard during these hearings.

“This Voting Rights hearing is critical to the growth of Florida’s democracy. If we truly want to have an inclusive democracy, voters must know their rights and turn out to the polls despite the oppressive barriers put in place by elected officials that discourage people from even trying to vote,” said Andrea Marta, interim national campaigns director for Faith in Action. “And, with the recent passage of House Bill 7089, Florida’s elected officials are now poised to overturn the will of the voters and essentially bring back a poll tax that would impact many who became eligible to vote after November’s historic passage of Amendment 4. We have to make sure all voters know to show up on Election Day despite blatant attempts to discourage them.”

“In Florida, the legacy of Jim Crow has historically disenfranchised and erected barriers to the ballot box for voters of color,” said Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of Advancement Project National Office. “Today, measures like polling location closures and felony disenfranchisement still disproportionately harm Brown and Black communities, students and the elderly. The state legislature’s recent attempt to overturn the historic passage of Amendment 4, a ballot measure that restored voting rights to people with prior felony convictions, shows how lawmakers have intentionally worked to suppress the vote. It is critical that Congress hear directly from experts on the ground as to why the Voting Rights Act must be fully restored.”

Advancement Project National Office has worked on voting rights in Florida since the infamous 2000 election and recently issued, Democracy Rising, a report that describes the collateral damage of felony disenfranchisement in Florida’s Black communities.

The racial equity groups have a formal partnership, working collaboratively over the past 5-7 years to clear barriers to the ballot box, champion the humanity of undocumented communities and communities of color, stop mass incarceration and end the criminalization of Native, Black and Latino communities.

 

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Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 46 local and state federations. For more information, visit www.faithinaction.org.

Faith in Action is a 501c(3). Faith in Action and its affiliates are non-partisan and are not aligned explicitly or implicitly with any candidate or party. We do not endorse or support candidates for office.

Advancement Project National Office, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Demos, Faith In Action, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Congress of American Indians, National Urban League, Race Forward, and UnidosUS are a collaborative of nine leading national racial equity anchor organizations supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Together, we work to promote racial equity, advance racial healing, and ensure that all children, families, and communities — no matter the color of their skin — have genuine opportunities to reach their full potential.

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