A group of civic-engagement leaders – including Martin Luther King III, son of the late civil rights crusader – has a plan to make sure unlikely voters and those without photo IDs aren’t turned away from the polls this year.
“No Voter Left Behind” aims to push back against laws in 34 states that impose more restrictions, which many critics call “voter suppression.” Led by the Drum Major Institute, it’s chosen Alabama to launch the program that tells voters about their rights.
“Everyone wants to know who will win this primary or the next, who will win the nominations, and who will win the final contest in November. But if citizens who have the right to choose their leaders are unable to cast a ballot, then we will certainly know that regardless of who wins the election, America will have lost,” King said.
A news release says the initiative will aid potentially disenfranchised voters by:
• Raising Awareness of the State-by-State Voter ID requirements and laws
• Launching a nation-wide toll-free hotline (855-VOTE-2016) that citizens can call for assistance
• Devoting physical resources, including assisting voters in getting to their local Election Commission and DMV offices to obtain photo ID
Also taking part in the effort are former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young and Drum Major Institute co-founder, New York attorney William Watchel,
“The responsibility of casting a vote for president of the United States places a burden on the conscience of every American to choose wisely. But there should not be physical burdens impeding citizens from fulfilling their civic duty and exercising the right to vote. We remain committed and will do whatever it takes to lessen the burden on all Americans to vote, including by ensuring that every citizen can comply with voter ID laws,” said Young, U.N. Ambassador under President Jimmy Carter and later Atlanta’s mayor.
“The lack of a little plastic card should not prevent anyone from exercising their fundamental right to vote. Having proper identification is empowering – even beyond the basic civil right of voting – and we are devoted to helping citizens who are on the outside looking in be equal participants in American opportunity,” Watchel said.
The No Voter Left Behind effort was profiled in a segment of “Last Week Tonight,” hosted by John Oliver.
Here’s the segment: