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“Give us the ballot”

Dear Friend,

“Give us the ballot.”

Sixty years ago today, Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and told a deeply divided nation that the denial of basic voting rights is “a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic tradition.”

This week, his words are echoing in my ears. Just a few days ago, President Trump announced a commission to investigate “voter fraud.”

Here’s the problem with that: no matter how much it irks the President that he lost the popular vote, there is not one piece of data to back his claims of fraud at the ballot box. Not one.

Instead, the data points to a very different kind of problem—voter suppression. That is, the strategic, nationwide effort the Republican Party has undertaken for years to expand voter ID laws, undermine same-day registration, and do whatever they can to make it more difficult for certain people to access the ballot box—namely minorities, the poor and the elderly.

Why? Because those groups don’t tend to vote for Republicans. Why? Because Republicans don’t have their backs in Washington.

So President Trump is barreling ahead with his phony commission, and he’s appointed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to lead it.

Kobach is not a person you would want in charge of voting rights laws.

He’s the man behind some of the strictest, most detrimental, voter identification laws in the country. Kobach advocated for Kansas’ discriminatory law that requires new voters to produce a passport, a birth certificate, or naturalization papers in order to cast their ballots—a blatant attempt to make it harder for certain populations to vote.

And make no mistake: this is not just another policy whim for President Trump. This is the latest round in a carefully coordinated GOP campaign aimed at disenfranchising people they don’t want voting.

We’ve seen it in North Carolina. We’ve seen it in Texas. We’ve seen it in Wisconsin.

There is no more sacred and fundamental guarantee of American citizenship than the right to vote—equally and absolutely. It’s how we hold our leaders accountable. It’s how we make our voices heard.

This is going to be one of the biggest fights of the 2018 election cycle—and I’m glad you’re in it with me.

Joe

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Pink News: Joe Kennedy leads opposition to Trump’s anti-LGBT Army Secretary

Nick Duffy, Pink News

Donald Trump is this month attempting to replace Obama’s openly gay nominee Eric Fanning with an anti-gay Tennessee Republican lawmaker, Mark Green.

Mr Green is the author of a Tennessee bill that would grant businesses unlimited rights to discriminate without any action from state agencies, invalidating any non-discrimination protections.

He has also attacked Obama’s civil rights protections for transgender children as an example of “tyrannical government”, claimed that being transgender is a “disease”, and encouraged Tennessee to defy the US Supreme Court and deny same-sex couples the right to marry.

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (MA-04), who heads the Transgender Equality Task Force in Congress, is leading the charge against Green’s nomination.

The politician, the 36-year-old grandson of Robert F Kennedy, led 31 Members of Congress in a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee opposing his nomination.

 

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Kennedy op-ed: Justice system hangs in the balance

Boston Herald

Today, a sense of profound inequity permeates our most sacred institutions, weaving itself deep into the very core of this democracy.

A belief that our country will defend some but not others; that equal protection is not a promise but a privilege.

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WITN: US Rep. Joe Kennedy urges NCAA to keep North Carolina sports boycott

WITN

The latest member of the Kennedy clan in Congress is urging the NCAA to continue steering championship sporting events away from North Carolina over the refusal of politicians to allow local laws that protect LGBT residents from discrimination.

U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts said Monday he’s speaking up because he says last week’s law repealing House Bill 2 still violates civil rights for transgender people.

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