Jason Kander Launches Let America Vote To Fight Voter Suppression Laws Across The Country
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2017
Contact: Will Wilder
Jason Kander today launched Let America Vote, an organization dedicated to winning the public debate over voter suppression in the United States. For several years, challenges to voter suppression efforts have taken place almost exclusively in courts of law. With the launch of Let America Vote, the fight expands to the court of public opinion.
Kander is joined by a Board of Advisors committed to voting rights, including human rights activist Martin Luther King III, Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Cecile Richards, former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, and renowned voting rights and election attorney Marc Elias. The 27 members of the Board of Advisors, who are listed below, bring diverse experience in advocacy, public policy and grassroots organizing to the Let America Vote team.
“Voting in our country has never been easy, and unfortunately it’s never been guaranteed for everyone,” Kander said. “But through the work of brave civil rights leaders, some of whom died for the cause, in the early 2000s we got to a point where most, but still not all, people who wanted to vote could do so. Today, that progress is in danger as laws targeting low-income and minority voters continue popping up across the country. Let America Vote will make the case for voting rights by exposing the real motivations of those who favor voter suppression laws. For the first time, politicians intent on denying certain Americans the right to vote will first have to consider the political consequences.”
Jason Kander saw the mounting threat of voter suppression first hand when he fought against extreme voter photo identification proposals each of his four years as Missouri’s Secretary of State. Kander argued that over 200,000 legally eligible Missouri voters might not be able to vote if the laws passed, and that there has never been a case of voter impersonation fraud in Missouri, but proponents of the law would not be dissuaded. In 2016, in perhaps the most egregious and transparent act of voter intimidation the state has seen in decades, a local election authority stationed police officers outside polling places in minority neighborhoods. What is happening in Missouri is happening around the country.
After 9/11, Kander joined the Army because he wanted to stand up for the American way of life. He volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan to protect the ideals in our Constitution. Kander believes it is un-American for politicians across the country or in Washington to try to take away the constitutional rights the men and women who served in the military signed up to defend. Kander started Let America Vote to fight back against proposals throughout the nation that make it harder for eligible voters to exercise their constitutional right to cast a ballot. Whether it’s extreme identification requirements, questionable purges of voter rolls, voter intimidation, new and extreme voter registration processes, or anything else that makes it harder for eligible voters to vote, Let America Vote will be there to highlight these attacks and help lead the political fight against them.
“Democracy is in danger. The cost of this right was too high to allow it to slip away now,” human rights activist Martin Luther King III said. “Any law that puts a barrier between a voter and the ballot box is a challenge to a free and open electoral process. Let America Vote is a call to realize the protection of every single eligible voter in America.”
“Voter suppression laws threaten the progress we’ve made as a country to ensure every eligible voter can cast their vote,” Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Cecile Richards said. “These laws use the guise of election integrity but do nothing to improve integrity and instead make it more difficult for very specific, marginalized groups to cast their ballots. Jason Kander is the right person to hold lawmakers accountable when they move to take power away from women, people of color and low-income voters.”
"The stakes in the fight to protect voting rights have been raised," former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. "It's a simple proposition: politicians should have to answer for cynically trying to gain a political advantage by making it harder for eligible Americans to vote. Leaders are supposed to serve their constituents, not disenfranchise them. Jason Kander has the determination and know-how to successfully lead this organization and I am proud to join him in this fight."
Let America Vote, a 527 organization, will also team up with groups that share the mission of preventing voter suppression. iVote President Ellen Kurz will join Let America Vote as a member of the Board, and Kander will join iVote's Board. Kander will also be joining the Board of Priorities USA in support of Every Citizen Counts, their initiative focused on voting rights litigation and statehouse lobbying. Priorities Chairman Guy Cecil will serve on Let America Vote's Board.
Let America Vote Advisory Board:
Stacey Abrams, Minority Leader, Georgia House of Representatives
Jeramey Anderson, Mississippi State Representative
Eli Attie, former chief speechwriter to Vice President Gore
Andy Berke, Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee
Guy Cecil, Chairman of Priorities USA
Janet Cruz, Minority Leader, Florida House of Representatives
Josh Earnest, former White House Press Secretary under President Obama
Marc Elias, voting rights and election lawyer, Chair of Perkins Coie's Political Law Group
Jon Favreau, former chief speechwriter to President Obama
Lucy Flores, former Nevada Assemblywoman
Jerry H. Goldfeder, Election Law and Voting Rights attorney; Adjunct Professor, Fordham Law School and Penn Law School
Christine Greig, Democratic Floor Leader, Michigan House of Representatives
Gerry Hebert, former DOJ official on Voting Rights and solo practitioner
Eric Johnson, Texas State Representative
Martin Luther King III, human rights activist
Ellen Kurz, Founder and President of iVote
Linda McCulloch, former Montana Secretary of State
Susana Mendoza, Comptroller of Illinois
Denise Merrill, Connecticut Secretary of State and President of National Association of Secretaries of State
Dan Pfeiffer, former senior advisor to President Obama
Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Rebecca Rios, Minority Leader, Arizona House of Representatives
Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List
Bakari Sellers, former South Carolina State Representative
Zephyr Teachout, law professor and activist
Bradley Whitford, actor and activist
Rev. Starsky D. Wilson, President & CEO of Deaconess Foundation and Co-chair of The Ferguson Commission