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Information Nation: The Need for Improved Federal Civil Rights Data Collection

April 27, 2022

This report urges the Biden administration to prioritize and improve data collection, especially in regards to marginalized and vulnerable communities. It builds on our earlier reports documenting the broad attacks on data collection that took place under the Trump administration. It also grew out of our response to the Biden administration's efforts to improve federal data collection in its larger pursuit of racial equity in connection with Executive Order 13985. The order committed the administration to pursue a "comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality."  Our report underscores many of the recommendations in the report recently issued by the White House titled, "A Vision for Equitable Data: Recommendations from the Equitable Data Working Group." We also provide concrete examples and steps that can be taken by the Biden administration, including recommendations for the Office of Management and Budget and federal agencies to ensure stakeholder input at all stages of federal surveys and data collection; restore and expand the scope, frequency, and public accessibility of data; add much-needed data collections; increase disaggregation of data; improve cost-benefit analyses; and preserve data privacy.

Ballots for All: Holding Pennsylvania County Jails Accountable for Providing Ballot Access

September 7, 2021

In Pennsylvania, county jail administrators are not fulfilling their legal responsibility to voters. Jails are required by law to provide registration and voting opportunities to all eligible voters. Currently, Pennsylvania county jails do not have a universal process for voter registration, voting by mail, or voter education. We refer to this as de facto disenfranchisement. The freedom to vote is central to building an America that works for us all, and no eligible voter should be denied this right. Through research, advocacy, and community outreach, we will both support jail administrators with tools to increase rates of voter registration and voting and, critically, hold them accountable to ensure all eligible voters can cast a ballot.

Ballots for All: Ensuring Eligible Wisconsinites in Jail Have Equal Access to Voting

June 23, 2021

Our democracy works best when all eligible Wisconsinites participate. The freedom to vote is central to building an America that works for us all. But too many Wisconsinites face needless and discriminatory barriers that limit this right. This is particularly true of eligible Wisconsinites in county jails.This report updates our July 2020 report, Ballots for All: Ensuring Eligible Wisconsin Voters in Jail Have Equal Access to Voting. In the past year, many jail administrators have taken small but important steps to increase ballot access for individuals in their care. Even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, with restrictions on who can support jail-based voter registration and absentee ballot application events in county jails, advocates and jail administrators found creative ways to ensure that eligible Wisconsinites could have their voices heard in the 2020 elections. While this is progress, troubling barriers remain. This report offers additional recommendations for state and local officials to protect the freedom to vote for every eligible Wisconsinite.

Warning Signs: The Potential Impact of Shelby County v. Holder on the 2016 General Election

June 1, 2016

In the three years since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, voters who were once protected by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act have been subjected to racial discrimination at every juncture of the electoral process. Voters and advocates have fought many of these proposals tooth and nail, in courthouses, statehouses and city council chambers nationwide, frequently resorting to expensive and protracted litigation. Despite this massive undertaking, countless voting laws have changed without public notice or scrutiny because Shelby removed federal oversight and transparency requirements from states previously covered by Section 5. Unless Congress acts quickly, 2016 will be the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. It is also an election that could be won or lost in just a few key states -- states where minority voters could determine the outcome.

50 Years after the Civil Rights Act: The Ongoing Work for Racial Justice in the 21st Century

December 11, 2014

This report documents the state of civil and human rights, and paints a persuasive picture of just how far the United States still has to go to make racial justice a reality. The report also makes a series of policy recommendations in the areas of justice reform, education, employment, hate violence, housing, human rights, immigration policy, media and technology, and voting. This Report commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and the 20 years since the United States ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights collaborated with 39 other organizations in 2014 in documenting their concerns and recommendations for progress under the treaty. According to the report, while progress has been made, the U.S. still struggles on many fronts. The Leadership Conference addresses racial justice and highlights many of the issues that remain important today.