September 5                                                                                                   Vol. 1 No. 2
Welcome to the 2nd Edition of
The Voting Rights Advocate

Welcome to the second edition of The Voting Rights Advocate, (VRA). My name is Brenda Ford Harding, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Transformative Justice Coalition, (TJC). I am also an attorney and consultant based in Durham, N.C. 
We hope you find the information below: informative, educational, and empowering. The voting rights information provides important updates on voting rights, civil rights, community advocates, and activists. In this edition you will read about the North Carolina's voter suppression law and the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case.

You will also learn about Miss Mieka Callines, a Senior/Business Administration Major at Selma University who is helping to get college students more active in voter rights issues and also Mr. Lee Smith, a Junior /Political Science Major at Tennessee State University (and Founder/President of Stay Woke HBCU) who is registering students on the campus of TSU, and much, much more.
We thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read our newsletter.  Our goal is to keep you informed and inspired.
If you have any questions, comments, and/or suggestions, feel free to send them to us at:

Brenda Ford Harding, ESQ
Board Chair, Transformative Justice Coalition
Supreme Court Won't Reinstate North Carolina Voter ID law
(Photo: Sara D. Davis, Getty Images)
Good news for voting rights advocates and people who love democracy. The Supreme Court denied an August 31 request from North Carolina to allow provisions of its controversial voting rights law to go back into effect, reported CNN. 

This decision was very close. But the Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision. "In a 4-4 split, justices left undisturbed a lower court opinion that struck down the law. The Supreme Court's order means provisions of the law -- concerning a tightening in voter ID requirements, cutbacks on early voting and the preregistration of 16-year-olds -- will remain off the books for November's election," said  Ariane de Vogue and Dan Berman who reported the story for CNN.

The court's order is a major victory for challengers to the law, including civil rights groups and the Department of Justice, which argued that it had a disparate impact on minority voters. In July, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that provisions of the law targeted "African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

Read More.
Appeals Court Blocks Wisconsin Voter ID Affidavit Option
Poll worker Kim Tinsley checks a photo identification for a voter at the Lincoln Court Apartments on S. Howell Ave. during the February primary.(Photo: Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Last month, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee ruled that Wisconsin voters without photo identification can cast ballots by swearing at the polling place that they could not easily acquire an ID. The decision created a pathway for voters with difficulties getting IDs who have been unable to cast ballots under the state's 2011 voter ID law. Read more
The Fight Against Strict Voting Laws Pushes On
Voting rights advocates celebrated last month after a string of court rulings against a group of restrictive voting laws seemed to knock out some major hurdles to the ballot this fall. But now they're having to fight tooth and nail to keep those wins on the board.

​On Wednesday, a federal appeals court reinstated a strict version of Wisconsin's voter ID law, which in July had been significantly softened by a lower court. Also on Wednesday, an agreement was announced to soften Texas's ID law, but lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case say they'll need to closely monitor the state's compliance. And in North Carolina, voting rights advocates worry that Republican-controlled local election boards could still restrict access to early voting. Read more.
Get a Ride to Claim Your Vote

Sasjkia Otto, founder of was shocked to hear that voter disenfranchisement was still happening in the 21st century. Having grown up in post-apartheid South Africa, Sasjkia understands all too well the implications of systemic voter disenfranchisement – for how citizens interact with government and with each other. When she saw the impact of voter disenfranchisement in the 2016 U.S. Primaries, she wanted to do something. The aim is to connect people willing to give rides to registration offices or polling stations with anybody who needs a ride. It is on this foundation that CarpoolVote was built, proving a tool that makes it easy for anybody to take civic action in their neighborhood. Click here to give or get a ride.
5 Reasons You Should Vote At A Local Level, Because Your Vote Matters Way More Than You Might Think
It's been a whirlwind of an election season, but the fun's not over yet; there's still a lot of voting to do, so make sure you don't fall behind on this year's election schedules — because your vote really does matter. Sadly enough, the U.S. has some pretty horrendous voter turnout rates. Out of the 35 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, most of which are developed and democratic nations very similar to ours, we rank 31st in terms of how many of our eligible voters show up to the polls. Ouch.
Read more.
Michigan seeks to reinstate ban on straight-ticket voting for fall election
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder pauses as he speaks at North Western High School in Flint, a city struggling with the effects of lead-poisoned drinking water in Michigan, May 4, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Michigan's attorney general has asked a federal appeals court to reinstate a law banning straight-ticket voting - the practice of using one mark to vote for all candidates from one party - in time for the November general election.

The law, passed by Michigan's majority Republican legislature and signed by Republican Governor Rick Snyder, was temporarily suspended in federal district court last month. A coalition of civil rights and labor groups had argued that it would keep African-Americans from voting. Read more
Judge Orders Texas To Spend At Least $2.5 Mil To Not Enforce Its Voter ID Law
Eric Gray / Associated Press
The tortuous legal fight over the future of Texas’ voter ID law is over ― at least until the November election. A federal judge on Wednesday issued a detailed order on how Texas must now move forward ahead of Election Day, listing a range of measures to essentially ensure no voter is disenfranchised for lacking the proper form of identification or the means to obtain it. Read more
Native Vote Action Week Webinar
Native Vote and Rock the Vote are partnering to host a webinar to spread the word about Native Vote Action Week on September 26 - 30, and provide resources for others to host their own Native Voter Registration Day. Rock the Vote will provide information on state-by-state registration tools and review resources available to register to vote.

Register for the webinar here:

For more information, click
Featured Events
Elections 2016
Millennial Spotlight

Important dates to remember!

Sept. 13th and 14th
TJC is hosting the African American Women in the Law Conference September 2016
(see flyer below)

Sept. 27th
National Voter Registration Day

Sept. 23rd and 24th
Millennial Votes Matter Convening 2016

October 3rd
Supreme Court Session Begins

October 7th
Voter Registration Deadline Click here

Oct. 6th
Voting Rights Symposium 3.0, 
Washington, D.C.

November 8th
Election Day 
Yes, the U.S. presidential election could be manipulated

Is the U.S. presidential election vulnerable to manipulation by a losing candidate?

Could the integrity of our electoral process be successfully challenged unfortunately the answer to these questions is yes.

Read more in this piece by William R. Sweeney Jr., Chad Vickery and Katherine Ellena in the Washington Post. 

LDF Joins the Election Protection Coalition in Open Letter to Political Parties Concerning Voter Intimidation

As part of the Election Protection Coalition, the largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, LDF sent an open letter to the leadership of the four political parties with presidential candidates in 2016.

Along with 75 other civil rights, voting rights and civic engagement groups, we called on them to denounce recent appeals to deploy observers and law enforcement against imagined voter fraud.

Read the full letter here.

Miss Mieka Callines 
Business Administration
Selma University

Voting is one of the most powerful things we can participate in as a whole in America. Everybody should have equal rights to express their concerns through voting. The voter identification laws have made it impossible for some people to do just that which is unfair. 

The millennials have to step up, get registered, and let their voices be heard. We are a rising generation that can come together and take over this election if we vote. The upcoming election can go either way in my opinion. Millennials need to show up and show out, because this is more than a meme on social media, this is more than sharing a post expressing our hate on a certain candidate, but this is our future.

We have the power to bring about change in America in the words of President Obama, 
"Don't boo. Vote!" 
Millennial Corner
Voting Rights

Millennials Votes Matter! 

Stay Woke HBCU's President and Co-Chair of The 2016 Millennial Votes Matter Convening, Lee Smith III, on the Tennessee State University campus getting students registered in the student center.

Reach Mr. Smith at

See images below.

Voting in College: Know your Rights

Click here
TJC's Powerful Report on "Fostering An Inclusive Democracy" Available for Download
Barbara R. Arnwine, renowned civil rights attorney and President of the Transformative Justice Coalition presents a vision of an inclusionary democracy without discriminatory barriers to voting and robust civic engagement by all segments of the American populous. 

Click here to read report.

Useful Resources
Some voter registration deadlines to note:


Voter Registration Dates:

Alabama: October 24th.

Alaska: October 9th.

Arizona: October 9th.

Arkansas: You can’t register online, and must register by mail or in person by October 10th.

California: October 24th.

Colorado: You must register online and by mail no later than October 31st, but if you choose to register in person, you have until
November 8th.

Connecticut: You’ve got until November 1st to register online or by mail. You have an extra week if you register in person.

Delaware: October 15th.

Florida: Residents can’t register online and must register in person or by mail no later than October 11th.

Georgia: October 11th.
Click here

The Voting Rights Alliance Click here

17-year-olds who will be 18 by Election Day can vote in the primary in some states Click here

Voter Identification Requirements - Voter ID Laws Click here
This publication is made possible by funding of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Transformative Justice Coalition
Phone: (202) 602-7080  |  Email: