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Protecting Voter Registration: An Assessment of Voter Purge Policies in Ten States

August 10, 2023

An inclusive democracy demands full access to the ballot by all eligible voters, yet many states use election procedures that create unnecessary burdens on the right to vote. This report focuses on an important but often overlooked voting barrier: voter purges. Too often, registered voters are kicked off the voter rolls in error, with little or no notice and opportunity to correct the error. When these voters show up to the polls, they may be turned away and their voices silenced—even though they are fully eligible to vote.Between the close of registration for the 2020 general election and the close of registration for the 2022 general election, states reported removing 19,260,000 records from their voter registration rolls. This was equal to 8.5% of the total number of voters who were registered in the United States as of the close of registration for the 2022 general election. Of course, some removals are necessary for the proper maintenance of voter rolls, such as for persons who have died or have moved away from their voting jurisdiction. One of the most frequent reasons for purging, however, was "inactivity," or failure to respond to a confirmation notice and not voting in at least two consecutive federal general elections. This reason accounted for more than a quarter of all removals while 26.8% and 25.6% were for address change or death of the registrant, respectively.Flawed voter purge practices–such as removals for inactivity or based on inaccurate identification of felony status or citizenship status—often disproportionately target voters of color, naturalized citizens, and other communities, and can prevent many eligible persons from exercising their right to vote. In addition, too many states lack readily available data on voter purges, which prevents advocates, organizers, and voters from stopping improper purges before they happen or correcting an erroneous purge in time for an election. As a result, tens of thousands of eligible voters who have taken all the necessary steps to exercise their right to vote are wrongly prevented from making their voices heard in our democracy.Dēmos conducted an analysis of voter removal practices, the safeguards in place to protect eligible voters from disenfranchisement, and the accessibility and transparency of voter registration data across ten states: Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. The voter removal laws we analyzed include both routine list maintenance laws—those allowing election officials to remove voters who have moved, died, or otherwise become ineligible to vote—and more problematic practices, such as laws targeting voters for removal for not voting (also known as a "use it or lose it" process), allowing mass third-party challenges to voters' registrations, and granting catch-all removal authority to election officials without proper safeguards. We evaluated these states on four dimensions:Does the state follow practices that minimize the risk of erroneous removal?Does the state have safeguards in place that allow persons who were erroneously purged to correct their information and vote at election time?Does the state have accessible data on voter removals?Does the state provide transparency on the reasons for removal and other data allowing an analysis of whether removals are improperly targeting specific demographic groups?

Federal Child Care Relief Funds: Increased Access and Supported Providers

August 1, 2023

This report notes that the COVID-19 relief funds and federal childcare relief funds will be concluding in September 2023 and September 2024, and how that might impact the children and families in the four states of Michigan, Louisiana, New York and Virginia. It also outlines key themes in what the funding accomplished and how the funds have been used in each state. Laying out the worst-case scenarios and challenges families and their children will have to endure when the relief resources end.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The Cost of Gun Violence: The Direct Cost to Tax Payers

June 2, 2023

The National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) conducted this detailed analysis that documents the government expenses accompanying every injury shooting or homicide in Baton Rouge. In tracking the direct costs per shooting incident, NICJR has deliberately used the low end of the range for each expense. This study does not include the loss-of-production costs when the victim or suspect were working at the time of the incident. Nationally, those costs have been estimated at an additional $1-2 million for each shooting incident. This means that the calculated cost of $1,456,982 for a homicide in Baton Rouge is a conservative estimate; the real cost is likely even higher.

ALICE in the Crosscurrents: COVID and Financial Hardship in Louisiana

May 25, 2023

This ALICE Report provides the first look at the extent of financial hardship in Louisiana using ALICE metrics since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The pandemic has disrupted longstanding patterns in how and where people live, work, study, save, and spend their time. And the story of ALICE and the pandemic is still unfolding as this Report is being written, amid an ongoing health crisis and an economic and public policy landscape that continues to shift. In a time of change, United For ALICE remains committed to providing the most up-to-date local data possible on financial hardship in Louisiana and across the U.S.

Pregnancy and maternal health for incarcerated women in Louisiana

May 1, 2023

Incarcerated women have unique healthcare needs and during their incarceration, are only able to access medical and mental health services offered through the prison, jail, or detention center where they are housed. Women are a small percentage of the total incarcerated population, raising concerns that their distinct healthcare needs are overlooked.In 2021, the Louisiana Legislature requested the Louisiana Public HealthInstitute (LPHI) to study the current policies in Louisiana's correctional facilities regarding pregnancy management and care and maternal health, the implementation and enforcement of Act No. 761 of the 2012 Regular Session, Act No. 392 of the 2018 Regular Session, and Act No. 140 of the 2020 Regular Session. LPHI sent out 67 public records requests asking for all current policies regarding pregnancy management, health care services, and mental health services for all incarcerated populations in January 2022. Receiving accurate and current information from all facilities has been exceptionally challenging due to non-responsive facilities or incomplete responses.

Community Engagement Strategies to Advance Justice Reform: Implementation Lessons from Buncombe County, North Carolina, Cook County, Illinois, and New Orleans

March 15, 2023

Communities across the nation are wrestling with how to identify and implement effective reforms that reduce structural inequities in the criminal legal system, promote community safety, and right-size operations of the criminal legal system to achieve more equitable outcomes and increased safety. Research suggests the most inspired and transformative solutions to such intractable problems come from collaborative partnerships between policymakers, criminal legal system leaders, and community members.However, many communities struggle with community engagement because of the strained relationships between the criminal legal system and communities that have historically been criminalized by that system or alienated by civic leaders. Fortunately, some communities have made marked progress. The MacArthur Foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) initiative to reduce the use of jails prioritized authentic engagement with community members across its grantees to build trust, enhance problem solving, and promote mutual accountability for justice reform.This report, which is part of a series of case studies highlighting the work of the SJC initiative, examines the community engagement strategies developed and implemented by three SJC communities: Buncombe County, North Carolina; Cook County, Illinois; and New Orleans. This report documents how these sites navigated challenges and advanced tangible reform efforts, and it explores the perceived impacts of these strategies on the sites' efforts to engage community members, reduce local jail use, and implement system reforms that advance equity. We conclude with a discussion of common themes in the sites' experiences implementing those strategies and recommendations for other communities seeking to advance community engagement.Sites used a variety of community engagement strategies, such as conducting listening sessions, hiring people with lived experience of the criminal legal system to organize events, and using art to receive community feedback on public safety.Common challenges from the three participating sites include navigating long-standing mistrust between community members and government, recruitment and retention in community engagement workgroups, and shifting strategies because of COVID-19.Recommendations and lessons learned from the three sites include ensuring proper resources are available to support community engagement efforts; communicating expectations and the likely pace of progress with community members; considering the accessibility of meetings; elevating the voices of people of color directly impacted by the criminal legal system; providing benefits to community members who attend meetings; leveraging technology to engage the community; and ensuring a diverse group of people is engaged.

Decarbonizing Louisiana’s Industrial Sector: The Importance of Community-Centric Approaches

March 1, 2023

As a state that has long been a hub for difficult-to-decarbonize industries, Louisiana has a particularly challenging path to full decarbonization. At the same time, addressing climate change is imperative in a state that is uniquely vulnerable to climate-fueled sea level rise and extreme weather. Both state leadership and the private sector have invested heavily in industrial decarbonization recently, but significant challenges remain. A chief need to address is how those efforts involve and affect the communities that have long been impacted by high-emitting industrial activity in the state, as well as the people who have long been dependent on it.This brief provides insights from a C2ES roundtable held in May 2022 that explored strategies to decarbonize Louisianian industry in a way that benefits not only the climate, but also the state's economic competitiveness and the health and prosperity of its residents. It highlights steps needed for Louisiana to decarbonize its industrial sector, the necessity of making communities and workers partners in decarbonization efforts, and processes that can ensure a just, inclusive, and equitable industrial transformation in the state.

Practical Guidance: What Nonprofits Need to Know About Lobbying in Louisiana

January 8, 2023

Bolder Advocacy's Practical Guidance – What Nonprofits Need to Know About Lobbying state law resource series is designed to help nonprofits determine if lobbying rules in their state might apply to their state or local work, and if they do, how best to navigate them!Each Guide Includes:Summary of lobbyist registration and reporting triggers in the stateKey critical takeaways for nonprofit organizationsFAQs – giving practical perspective on how to interact with the state rulesCase study for a hypothetical small student voting rights organizationList of helpful additional resourcesWho are these Guides For?Nonprofit Advocacy Organizations: Leaders and staff of nonprofit organizations that work on (or are thinking about working on) advocacy initiatives at the state or local levelLawyers: Lawyers and compliance professionals interested in working with nonprofit advocacy organizations doing state and local level workFunders: Funding organizations working to ensure strong organizational capacity and infrastructure for the groups they fund doing advocacy work at the state and local level

ALICE in Focus: Financial Hardship Among Veterans: Louisiana

November 11, 2022

In 2019, there were 224,516 military veterans in Louisiana. Overall, a majority of them have fared better economically than nonveterans, in line with a belief that our nation must meet veterans' basic needs given their service and sacrifice. Yet in 2019, a substantial 80,928 of those who served our country struggled to make ends meet in Louisiana. The reality is that more than one-third (36%) of all veterans in Louisiana lived in a household with income below the ALICE Threshold of Financial Survival in 2019, the highest rate of all U.S. states. This includes households in poverty as well as those who were ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE households don't earn enough to afford housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, a smartphone plan, and taxes — the basics needed to live and work in the modern economy (see Key Terms, pg. 2). This ALICE in Focus Research Brief shows that there are veterans below the ALICE Threshold of all ages, races/ethnicities, and educational levels, in a variety of living arrangements and employment situations. The share of veterans below the ALICE Threshold in Louisiana in 2019 ranged from 14% across Acadia and Vermilion parishes to 54% across Livingston and St. Helena parishes.

Opportunities for Philanthropy in Louisiana’s Justice System

November 8, 2022

This report provides targeted recommendations for foundations and philanthropy as a supplement to research and findings presented in our 2022 report, "Louisiana Justice: Pre-trial, Incarceration, & Reentry." That report provides a high-level overview of the criminal legal system in Louisiana based on original statistical research and focus group interviews. 

Louisiana Justice: Pre-trial, Incarceration, & Reentry

November 8, 2022

This report provides a high-level system overview of Louisiana's justice system from pretrial to incarceration to re-entry and includes new data and insights from local advocates. Data included provides the most recent snapshot of Louisiana's prison population and the first close look at the impact of multi billing, or "habitual offender sentencing," including significant disparities of the use of the multi bill in Louisiana. An introductory letter highlights two significant issues that have not previously been studied or analyzed: multi-bill sentences and local housing of the state's prison populations. 

Louisiana Children Health Uninsured Rates Census 2019

October 17, 2022

This report provides trend data on uninsured health rates among children in Louisiana and compares it to the nation. It highlights how the nation is losing ground in this area and makes initial recommendations on how this trend might be reversed.