Voting Rights

Our guest is Dorothy Wickenden, an author and editor at The New Yorker Magazine. She tells us about her fascinating new book, which explores various interlinked facets of American history, including abolition, the Underground Railroad, the early women's rights movement, and the Civil War. As the noted Yale historian David W. Blight has written of this book: "As a revolutionary, Harriet Tubman made many allies, none more important than her Auburn, New York, neighbors Martha Wright and Frances Seward.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Oklahoma Senate passed a resolution on Monday objecting to federal legislation on elections, voting and ethics.

H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021, could greatly expand voting access in some states, including Oklahoma. The bill includes requirements for states to set up automatic voter registration, offer same-day registration and hold two weeks of early voting.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Voting access proponents staged a press conference Tuesday, saying Tulsa County and the Tulsa County Election Board aren't doing enough to communicate that early voting will take place over three days at ONEOK Field this year due to COVID-19, instead of the traditional early voting locations at the Hardesty Regional Library and the Election Board building on North Denver.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The Tulsa County Election Board is prepared to send out and get back a record number of mail-in ballots for the upcoming November election, by far the biggest contest since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

"We have mailed out as of today about 47,000. We are expecting to mail out all told between 100,000 and 130,000 absentee ballots. That is a five fold increase, and potentially a little more, over anything we’ve ever done historically," said Gwen Freeman, the election board's secretary, at a Monday press conference.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday rejected the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s lawsuit challenging the state’s absentee voting rules.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge John Dowell wrote that the state’s absentee voting rules are “reasonable, nondiscriminatory and legitimate.”

On this episode of ST, we revisit a discussion that first aired back in October. At that time, we spoke with Eric Foner, the DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University.

Flickr/Mrs. Gemstone / https://www.flickr.com/photos/gemstone/8162709569/

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Native American voting rights advocates are cautioning against states moving to mail-in ballots without opportunities for tribal members to vote safely in person.

In a wide-ranging report released Thursday, the Native American Rights Fund outlined the challenges that could arise: online registration hampered by spotty or no internet service, ballots delivered to rarely-checked Post Office boxes and turnout curbed by a general reluctance to vote by mail.

In the wake of the US Supreme Court's Common Cause v. Rucho case which ruled that gerrymandering cases are a non-justiciable issue, citizen grassroots efforts have emerged to use other means to prevent partisan gerrymandering and other voter suppression efforts. These locally organized efforts have led to initiative petition victories to create non-partisan redistricting commissions in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Utah, expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in Idaho, and restored voting rights for former felons in Florida and Alabama.

Our guest on ST is Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner, one of America's leading experts on women's history, who is on the faculty at Syracuse University (among other schools) and has been teaching college-level women's studies courses for more than 45 years. She'll be speaking tomorrow, Friday the 21st, at 7pm in the Helmerich Center for American Research (on the campus of Gilcrease Museum). Dr. Wagner's talk, titled "Forgotten Champions of Women's Liberty," is free and open to the public. More info is posted here.