NVRI: National Voting Rights Institute

NVRI E-News Update - April 5, 2005

Friends,

Big news on the campaign spending limits front - with a new ruling last week - and an NVRI-sponsored speech by Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.
NVRI Wins Court Victory Upholding Campaign Spending Limits at Colleges
Students at the University of Montana will keep their $100 spending cap for student government elections, thanks to a ruling last week by a Montana Federal judge. Chief United States District Judge Donald Molloy stated that the spending cap of $100 for ASUM elections is important to:
    "assure that all students, regardless of personal or financial circumstances, have equal access to the educational opportunities ASUM participation provides. If we reach the stage where participation in student government is perceived as only given to those interests with large money contributions, the fundamental predicate of student governance breaks down. When the cynicism of wealth invades the academy, students learn not the lessons of orderly governance but instead are imbued with the anti-egalitarian notion that wealth is power."
We couldn't agree more. And we hope this is a sign of good things for the Vermont spending limits case, which should soon be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. To read NVRI's press release about this case, click here, or to read the opinion, click here.

Legislation for Campaign Spending Limits
While the Supreme Court will soon be deciding whether or not to review Vermont's campaign spending limits case, legislators in other states are not wasting time in introducing new measures for their own states. The August 2004 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit -- saying spending limits can indeed be Constitutional when narrowly drawn, (click here for the story) -- makes spending limits a tool that other advocates are eager to implement. NVRI is working with our allies at PIRG and TheRestOfUs.org to prepare legislation in states and localities across the country to institute spending caps. Massachusetts was the first to see limits legislation. A bill introduced by Representative Douglas W. Petersen (8th Essex) will be heard later this Spring by the Massachusetts General Assembly.

If you believe legislators in your state -- or city -- would like to introduce this legislation, contact NVRI staff attorney Lisa Danetz (ldanetz@nvri.org).

Representative Jesse Jackson on The Right to Vote
NVRI and Lesley University are co-hosting an April 25 appearance by Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. at Lesley University in Boston. Jackson will speak about HJR 28, the proposed Constitutional Amendment for the Right to Vote. As Jackson states, "Voting in America is overseen by 13,000 different election administrations, all separate and unequal…" Voting in the US is a "state right," not a "citizenship right." When the Supreme Court ruled during the 2000 election that the "individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States," it threw this Constitutional distinction into sharp relief. Admission for the 5:00 p.m. event (to be held at the Marran Theater at 47 Oxford Street) is free. For information, contact Pamela Sheward (psheward@nvri.org).

Web Redesign
This round of the NVRI web redesign is finished. The new site should be more usable and accessible. Please send comments if you have them.

As always, thanks for your ongoing support of NVRI. Please share this e-news with friends. And don't forget to make a contribution, if you haven't done so recently. please make a contribution if you can.

Best Regards,
Stu

Stuart Comstock-Gay
Executive Director
National Voting Rights Institute
617-624-3900 ext.16
scg@nvri.org
www.nvri.org