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Nearly five million people — residents of Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the other U.S. territories — are taxpaying U.S. citizens that have fundamentally different voting rights and representation in government than residents of the 50 states.

What are the U.S. territories?

Similar to states, territories of the United States are sub-national administrative divisions overseen by the U.S. government. The United States has held territories throughout its history. In fact, many current states started off as territories before they were granted statehood. Hawaii and Alaska were the last two territories to become states — both in 1959. Currently, the United…


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What is the 14th Amendment?

Ratified in 1868, the 14th Amendment was the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution in the Reconstruction Era following the Civil War. It provided for the rights and protections for formerly enslaved persons; sought to address the rights of those involved in the rebellion against the United States; and established protections against future insurrections. Former Confederate states were required to ratify it to gain representation in Congress. As such, it included:

Section 1:

  • The Citizenship Clause: Defined citizenship as all persons born or naturalized in the United States to include formerly enslaved people;
  • The Equal…


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What is impeachment?

Impeachment is a constitutional process used to remove a president or other federal official from office. The reasons for impeachment given in Section 4 of Article 2 of the Constitution are “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The Constitution bestows the “sole power of impeachment” upon the House of Representatives (the House), and the power to “try all impeachments” upon the Senate. This means the House details the charges and offenses for removing an individual from office in a written statement called the articles of impeachment. These articles collectively are similar to an indictment in a common criminal…


What is the 25th Amendment?

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Ratified in 1967 following the assassination of President Kennedy, the 25th Amendment to the Constitution established the Presidential line of succession; set forth a process by which the Vice President could temporarily take over as Acting President; and created a means for the President to be removed from office if he/she/they became unfit to serve. Paragraph 1 of Section 4 reads as follows:

“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro…


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States counts were certified in November and December in accordance with each state’s laws. On December 14, 2020, electors comprising the electoral college assembled in each state to cast votes and mail the votes to Congress.

On January 3, 2021, the 117th Congress was sworn into office, including newly elected candidates who won in the 2020 General Election and subsequent runoff elections.

On January 6, 2021 at 1PM ET, members of The U.S. House of Representatives (House) and of The U.S. Senate (Senate), collectively known as Congress, will meet in the House chamber for a joint session to certify the…


Results from the 2020 General Election triggered runoff elections in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia and Texas. One critical runoff remaining is for Georgia’s U.S Senate seats 1 and 2 on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

What is a runoff election?

In some elections, a candidate must win the plurality — the most votes — AND the majority of votes — earning more than 50% of the vote — to be certified as the winner.

In multi-candidate races, it can be difficult to earn over 50% of the votes as votes are split between multiple candidates. Thus, a candidate may receive the…


WASHINGTON — Rock the Vote, issued the following statement by its president, Carolyn DeWitt, in response to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s order to close ballot drop-off sites and limit counties to one drop-off location.

“Texas Governor Greg Abbot’s actions demonstrate that he is a democracy-hater, someone who resents that power is held by the people and abuses their power to deny democracy from working as it should.

With this action, Governor Abbott is actively choking voter’s ability to participate in our democracy — in an attempt to determine the outcome of the election. That is not democracy. That is authoritarianism…


Supreme Court columns from bottom looking up. Text: “An Explainer: U.S. Supreme Court Nomination Process. RockTheVote.org”
Supreme Court columns from bottom looking up. Text: “An Explainer: U.S. Supreme Court Nomination Process. RockTheVote.org”

The Role of the U.S. Supreme Court

  • Serves as the highest court in the Nation. It’s the last resort for those looking for justice.
  • Ensures that each branch of government recognizes the limits of its own power
  • Protects civil rights and liberties by striking down laws that violate the Constitution
  • Sets appropriate limits on the government by ensuring that popular majorities cannot pass laws that harm and/or take undue advantage of unpopular minorities

The U.S. Supreme Court was designed to be apolitical. The Court has power neither over the sword (military) nor the purse (the budget). Its authority relies on…


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On August 26th, Rock the Vote will mark the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment that protected against discriminating any citizen’s right to vote based on their sex. August 26th is also Women’s Equality Day.

What is the 19th Amendment?

First introduced to Congress in 1878, the 19th Amendment was finally adopted in 1920, making it illegal to deny the right to vote to any citizen based on sex. August 26th, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of its passage.

Did the 19th Amendment enable all women the right to vote?

On paper, the amendment protected discrimination against…


A diverse group of disabled people under the heading “Disability Pride Month”
A diverse group of disabled people under the heading “Disability Pride Month”

by Dalia Dichter

Take your right hand and hold it close to your ear. Then, open and close your fingertips and thumb a couple of times. That gesture is my “sign name,” or how you refer to me in American Sign Language. My parents were both born deaf, and they wanted to make sure that I was part of the Deaf community from a young age. They taught me American Sign Language before they taught me to speak and they gave me my own sign name.

As a Child of Deaf Adults (CODA), I understand the world through a different…

Rock the Vote

Building political power for young voters

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