Reproductive Rights – Reproductive rights is a group of rights related to reproductive health and choice. Reproductive rights include the right to use contraception and to choose the type of contraception that is best for you. It includes ensuring people have access to products that promote reproductive health, including menstrual products. It includes the right to choose whether and when to become a parent and a choice of fertility healthcare. It also includes the right to abortion if a person does not want to be pregnant. Many people are aware of ongoing attempts to restrict access to abortion directly or through policies that make it harder for abortion providers to operate. However, other restrictions include limiting the availability of contraception, menstrual products, and fertility treatments. Your vote can help assure these rights are protected.
Criminal Justice – Our criminal legal system is expensive, inefficient, unfair and racist. Police practices lead to certain communities and people being over-policed. Too often it also means police violence. In our courts, the rights of people who are charged with crimes are constantly being chipped away. Jails and prisons are overcrowded and dangerous. Even when someone has paid their debt to society, they face massive barriers to being able to rejoin society.
Juvenile Justice – Our juvenile justice system is set up to punish kids when they act out, rather than help them before they get in trouble. The result is that we pull kids out of their homes and lock them in jails and hospitals that may be hours away from their families – sometimes even in other states. We need to rethink our juvenile justice system to help kids who are at risk before they get into serious trouble. And we need to make sure we have resources in our communities so that there are age-appropriate consequences that won’t further harm the child and their families.
Immigrants’ Rights – Many people come to America to escape poverty and violence or to find new opportunities. Unfortunately, immigrants have been targeted with policies that make it very difficult to enter and stay. They have been targeted with family separation, expedited deportations, often with little chance to explain their case. Immigrants have been targeted based on where they come from the religion they practice, and the color of their skin. Federal elections can help to change these policies, but local elections matter too. Local representatives can help put pressure on the federal government to do the right thing. State and local politicians can also create laws that either build a welcoming environment, or that create more stigma and difficulties for newcomers.
Voting Rights – Everyone should have the right to vote. Unfortunately, there are a variety of ways that voting can be made more difficult. Voter ID laws are a common way to restrict the vote. Certain people, like the elderly, people experiencing homelessness, college students, and formerly-incarcerated people may be less likely to have acceptable IDs. Other states have limited where people can vote, making people travel further and lines longer. Other states have aggressively purged voter registrations. All of these attacks on our right to vote justified by raising false fears about illegal voting. Multiple studies have shown that voter fraud is extremely rare. Elected officials should make it easer to vote. They should ensure enough polling places and proper training for poll workers. They can expand the registration period. They can allow voters to use absentee ballots. These are steps to ensure everyone gets a say in how our country is run.
Privacy and Technology – New technologies have changed how we live, work, shop, and socialize. But new technologies also mean companies can gather more information about us than ever before. In addition to companies, the government has new tools that it can use to watch us. The people we elect have the power to set rules for private companies and for the government on what information can be collected, how it can be collected, and how it can be used.
LGBTQ Equality – The Supreme Court has affirmed that gay and lesbian couples can get married. More recently, it ruled that people cannot be discriminated against in the workplace based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite these advances, people still face discrimination in housing, healthcare, access to credit and by some businesses. LGTBQ students still face harassment in schools and may even be denied access to things as simple as the right bathroom. Waiting on the courts to fix each of these issues means many more people will suffer. Instead we need to elect people who will ensure that who you love, or how you identify is not a reason to deny people basic dignities.