One year until Election Day 2012. Well, 364 days actually. But on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2012, Americans will again head to the polls... at least some Americans.
Billions of dollars will be spent yet again on another federal election, but let's be honest: only a small fraction of eligible Americans will vote. American voter turnout is so low we rank in the bottom twenty percent of all nations. Yet while two-thirds of Americans are in favor of reforming our election process, there is a deafening silence in the public sphere about this vitally important issue.
Actually, it's even worse than that. There is lots of activity in the voter participation sphere -- but almost all of it is in efforts to suppress turnout through tough voter ID laws, reductions in early voting periods, an end in many states to same-day voter registration and other ploys. What we have not seen up until now is a major effort to ensure voting rights for all eligible Americans and find ways to enable them to vote.
Today, our group Why Tuesday? is relaunching for the 2012 cycle with an event broadcast live from the Newseum in Washington, D.C. We will be officially unveiling our new website, a new video, our 2012 Candidate Challenge, and we're hosting a live panel discussion about your right to vote.
"Creating The Voting Rights Act of 2012," will address current barriers to the franchise, discuss proposed solutions, and call on the President, Congress, and the 2012 presidential candidates to make it easier for people to vote.
I feel lucky to join an amazing group of panelists today to join in this dialogue including MSNBC contributor, writer and Why Tuesday? advisory board member Meghan McCain, Why Tuesday co-founders William Wachtel and American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Norman Ornstein, David Becker the director of The Pew Center On The States, and Mimi Marziani of the Brennan Center for Justice.
We want you to be a part of the conversation. Watch the panel live below starting at 9:30AM ET and tweet us questions and suggestions using #VRA2012 about what you'd like to see in The Voting Rights Act of 2012.