In the midst of a beautiful Maine summer, everyone is trying to enjoy every precious moment they can. That’s why we’re keeping this edition of our newsletter short and sweet. Here are a few brief highlights from July.
PREPARING FOR THE ELECTION
Election Day is just over three months away and with the conclusion of the national conventions for both the Republicans and Democrats, more and more Americans are focusing on the candidates and issues that will be on the ballot this year. It’s vital that women make sure our candidates at the local, state, and federal level know what our concerns are—and that we turn out to vote to make our voices heard on November 8th. That’s why we’ll be talking with women across the state to hear what’s keeping you up at night and what issues are most important to you. We’ll also be encouraging women to register to vote. And we’ll be connecting with legislative candidates about the policies that matter for women in Maine.
If you would like to host a conversation about engaging in the election this year for women in your community, we’d love to hear from you. Contact Kathy at 207-622-0851 x3 or email@example.com.
THE COURTS AND VOTING RIGHTS
We were frustrated to see the U.S. Supreme Court severely weaken the Voting Rights Act in its 2013 Shelby County vs. Holder decision—a decision which led to laws limiting access to voting in many parts of the country. But this summer, we’ve seen the importance of other federal courts with several decisions that have struck down barriers to voting passed by state legislatures in recent years. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that Texas’ strict voter ID law discriminated against Black and Latino voters and stated that Texas must find ways to accommodate voters who face hardships in obtaining the necessary identification documents. Just last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decided that parts of North Carolina’s voter ID law because the restrictions on voting were drafted only after receiving data indicating that African-Americans would be the voters most significantly affected by them. And Judge James D. Peterson of Federal District Court ruled that parts of a Wisconsin voter ID law are also unconstitutional, saying that “The Wisconsin experience demonstrates that a preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement which undermine rather than enhance confidence in elections.’’ Read more: nyti.ms/2aJyoLs.
Obstruction by Republicans in Leadership and on the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. Senate has kept Judge Merrick Garland from receiving a hearing or vote as the nominee for the current Supreme Court vacancy. And that same obstruction has created a vacancy crisis for the rest of our federal court system—with 83 vacancies in circuit and district courts plus one Supreme Court vacancy, and 30 judicial emergencies in our federal courts system. Whether you care about voting rights, access to abortion and other reproductive health care, immigration, criminal justice, labor issues, the environment, access to health care, or discrimination, the federal courts play an important role. That’s #WhyCourtsMatter this election and every year.
Learn more about the future of the Supreme Court at scotustippingpoint.org.
Earlier this month, our Executive Director, Eliza Townsend, talked with Dr. Lisa Belisle on Love Maine Radio as one ofMaine Magazine’s 50 Mainers Charting the State’s Future. In case you missed it during the holiday weekend, you can still listen online at bit.ly/2aHnUPB. And see Eliza in MaineMagazine at bit.ly/2aBnUOi.
On July 19th, Danna Hayes, our Director of Public Policy, participated in a panel discussion with Sen. Angus King at Stewart Adult Day Center in Falmouth. The discussion was focused on legislation that would provide a tax credit to family caregivers to help them cope with the expenses of providing care to a loved one at home, as well as other challenges facing family caregivers. One of the challenges that Danna highlighted is the lack of paid family leave for many caregivers. If you have had to cope with a serious illness, caring for a loved one, or the addition of new child to your family without paid leave, we would like to hear your story. Contact us at 207-622-0851 x3 or firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about your experiences.
Be sure to like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. If you’ve noticed that our Facebook posts aren’t showing up as often as they used to, it may be because they’ve changed the way they determine which posts you see. There are two ways to help make sure you see our posts. 1) Go to our Page. Click on the Liked button and select “See First”. 2) Go to our Page. Click on the Liked button and select “All On” under Notifications.
Thank you for your support. Enjoy the rest of the summer!