Milwaukee residents cast their ballots during early voting at the Milwaukee Municipal Building Oct. 22, 2012 Milwaukee, Wis.
Darren Hauck/Getty

The Call: The State of Civil Rights in America

Ladies and gentlemen,

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act by President Lyndon B. Johnson – and today, civil rights in this country are far from secure.

In the past few months alone, a number of states have imposed new limits on early voting –limits that will disproportionately disenfranchise poor people and people of color.

That’s why for this week’s Call to Action, we’re asking you to contact your Secretary of State or Lieutenant Governor and call formore hours of early voting – including on weekends.

According to the Center for American Progress, “confining voting to a single 8- or 12-hour period is simply not reflective of how most voters live– particularly low-income voters and voters of color. Expanding early voting is a crucial way to reduce Election Day crowds, add flexibility, and bring our antiquated system into the 21st century.” And earlier this year, the White House released a bipartisan report on election administration. The report’s authors – led by lawyers from the Obama and Romney campaigns – found a “bipartisan consensus of election administrators” in favor of expanding early voting in every state.

You can find your Secretary of State’s contact info here.

Not sure what to write? Here’s a cheat sheet:

“I believe that our state should adopt the recommendations from the White House report, and ensure that the following is true for early voting in our state:

  • Early in-person voting should begin a full two weeks before Election Day
  • Weekend voting should be available, including the weekend before Election Day
  • Early voting places should be distributed fairly and equitably

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Early voting is one of the key civil rights issues of our day. I urge you to do what you can to ensure that early voting meets the needs of our state.”

Let us know what your state official says on Twitter, Facebook, or email it to us at We’ll be analyzing and sharing what you hear over the course of the week.


Team RFD

Civil Rights, Voting Rights and Voting Rights Act

The Call: The State of Civil Rights in America