Voter Suppression, Voter Fraud: What These Phenomena Mean for Our First Amendment Freedoms

Voter Suppression, Voter Fraud: What These Phenomena Mean for Our First Amendment Freedoms

Much of the hyper-polarized rhetoric in the U.S. in recent years has swirled around the issue of voting, such as the Electoral College’s capacity to override the popular vote in deciding the next president, the potential benefits of rank-choice voting, alarm over voter suppression tactics, claims of voter fraud, foreign interference in U.S. elections, and concerns over potential security risks with mail-in voting.

While there have been some attempts to bolster the security of our electoral system – an issue that both major political parties agree is a problem but disagree about the causes – legislation like the For the People Act (HB 1) have struggled to gain enough traction in Congress to actually pass. 

So, where do we go from here?

Since voting is an expression of free speech – as explained by legal scholars Armand Derfner and J. Gerald Hebert in their Yale Law and Policy Review article published in June 2016 – First Amendment Voice’s blog post today will focus on some recent research about voter suppression and voter fraud to shed some light on their implications for First Amendment rights as they pertain to voting.

Voter Suppression

Britannica defines voter suppression as “any legal or extralegal measure or strategy whose purpose or practical effect is to reduce voting, or registering to vote, by members of a targeted racial group, political party, or religious community.” 

As the Library of Congress points out, Black Americans have been subjected to the most severe and/or far-reaching voter suppression tactics throughout American history, including poll taxes, literacy tests, intimidation, violence and even the “grandfather clause” that prohibited someone from voting if their grandfather hadn’t voted (which prevented countless descendents of slaves from voting until the Supreme Court struck down the clause in its Guinn v. United States decision in 1915).

Today, voter suppression still exists in various forms, though polarized rhetoric surrounding elections and voting access has led some folks to claim that voter suppression is strictly a thing of the past. On the contrary, as NPR’s Marketplace explored in September 2020, voter suppression persists through stringent voter ID laws, fewer polling places and reduced hours, and greater barriers to vote-by-mail options. 

While there has been some debate over whether voter ID laws actually impact eligible voters’ ability to cast ballots, there is substantial evidence to support the argument that voter ID laws do prevent people from exercising their rights to vote. For instance, in the April 2017 edition of The Journal of Politics, an analysis of 50,000+ survey respondents in the Cooperative Congressional Election Study from 2008-2012 found that the implementation of voter ID laws led to significantly reduced turnout among Black, Latino and multiracial voters. 

Long distances to polling places can also function as a form of voter suppression, as illustrated by this October 2020 Pew Trusts analysis of polling issues in Halifax County, North Carolina. Elderly individuals, people with physical disabilities, and low-income or homeless individuals disproportionately lack the means to access transportation to the polls, especially in rural areas and on Native American reservations. Consider it this way: if you do not own a car, there’s no public transportation in your area or you can’t afford exorbitant gas prices to drive long distances, how can you exercise your right to vote? This is one of the reasons why vote-by-mail has been heralded as a solution to inadequate polling access (and has been widely available for several years prior to 2020 for members of the military serving overseas and in the state of Oregon).

For a more comprehensive overview of types of voter suppression, the Voting Rights Alliance has a list of 61 voter suppression tactics here.

It should also be noted that various forms of voter disenfranchisement still exist today, too. Voter disenfranchisement is typically more overt than voter suppression, as it refers to the removal of the right to vote. As this map shows, convicted felons are one of the biggest groups of disenfranchised voters in the U.S.; most states at least temporarily remove a felon’s right to vote and in some states, a felon permanently loses their right to vote (even after completing their prison sentence and probation). 

People with disabilities also experience disproportionately higher rates of voter suppression and disenfranchisement. Research from Pew Charitable Trusts in February 2018 found that nearly two-thirds of polling places inspected on election day in 2016 had at least one impediment for people with disabilities. The challenge of getting to a polling place was alleviated for some voters with physical disabilities in the 2020 election; thanks to the expansion of mail-in voting, 62% of people with disabilities voted in 2020 compared to 56% of the same demographic’s voter turnout in 2016. 

Meanwhile, 39 U.S. states still have “incompetence” laws in effect that prevent people with certain mental conditions like Down’s Syndrome or schizophrenia from voting altogether. This raises the question: if the First Amendment is intended to apply to everyone in the U.S., should there be a mental competency prerequisite for someone to be eligible for freedom of speech (i.e., the right to vote)?

Voter Fraud

We’ve heard a lot of claims about voter fraud in recent years, but how significant is this issue, in reality?

The Heritage Foundation – a conservative think-tank based in Washington D.C. – has compiled an Election Fraud Database with proven instances of voter fraud in the U.S. in elections since 1982. While the database isn’t a comprehensive list of all instances of voter fraud that may have occurred, it cites just over 1,350 proven incidents, 1,165 of which led to criminal convictions. Heritage reports the types of voter fraud may include: altering vote counts, ballot petition fraud, buying votes, duplicate voting, overturning elections, false registrations, fraudulent use of absentee ballots, impersonation at the polls, and ineligible voting.

After the 2020 Presidential election, in which former President Trump and some of his supporters alleged that tremendous voter fraud stole the election from Republicans, there remains a great deal of public debate over whether voter fraud is truly as widespread as it’s claimed to be. While it can certainly be challenging to identify and prosecute instances of voter fraud for myriad reasons, an in-depth analysis from Bloomberg Government in July 2021 suggests that voter fraud is not as prevalent as the rhetoric surrounding electoral integrity makes it seem. 

In some instances, voter “fraud” was either a misunderstanding due to voters’ confusion or even misreported cases of fraud. For example, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) and his team of 22 investigators found that approximately 1,000 people voted through absentee ballots and in-person at the polls for the 2020 election. However, most of those cases involved elderly voters who were confused by the vote-by-mail processes. Raffensperger’s team also found the allegations of “66,000 underage voters” to be false; these were simply 17-year-olds who had lawfully pre-registered to vote but did not cast a ballot in the election. Meanwhile, the claim of more than 10,000 deceased voters participating in the election was also proven false; just two ballots from deceased voters were identified after a rigorous investigation.

As Raffensperger summarized in an interview with Bloomberg Government, “People may not like the results. I understand that—I’m a Republican, I was disappointed, too. But at the end of the day those were the results.”

While there remain concerns over the newness and security of mail-in voting, it’s important to note that the practice of mail-in voting dates back to the Civil War (here’s a fascinating resource on the topic from the MIT Election Data + Science Lab). Furthermore, the article, “Does Voting by Mail Increase Fraud? Estimating the Change in Reported Voter Fraud When States Switch to Elections By Mail” published in the May 2021 edition of the journal of Statistics and Public Policy found no evidence of increased voter fraud risk from vote-by-mail processes.

Final Thoughts on Voter Suppression and Fraud

In a country with over 330 million people like the U.S., it’s enormously difficult to determine the true extent to which voter suppression and fraud are causing problems for both our electoral integrity and First Amendment rights as participants in democratic processes. Perhaps something that most people across the political spectrum can agree on is that we must do more to protect our rights to freedom of speech, of which voting is an integral component. 

Some solutions that have been proposed in recent years include:

  • Abolish the Electoral College and let the popular vote decide who will become the next President (fun fact: the Electoral College was almost abolished in 1970…until a filibuster in the Senate prevented it from gaining further traction)
  • Create a national holiday for elections or schedule voting day on Sundays to allow more people to vote without having to miss work (read more about the pros and cons of this proposal) 
  • Establish mail-in voting as a permanent option even after the pandemic to expand access to voting for people with disabilities, elderly individuals, low-income people with limited means of transportation and residents of rural communities (as of 2022, only eight states allow for mail-in voting in all elections)
  • Implement rank-choice voting to expand voters’ options beyond the stringent 2-party-dominated system we currently have (check out Ballotpedia’s guide on rank-choice voting to learn more about how it works)
  • Increase voting access for Native Americans, who experience voter suppression due to long driving distances to polls from their communities and some states rejecting their voter registration applications due to tribal IDs and/or reservation addresses (the Native American Voting Rights Act of 2021 is Congress’ latest attempt to resolve these issues)
  • Lowering the voting age to 16 (FairVote – a nonpartisan nonprofit advocacy organization – has a great resource explaining why this could be a great idea)
  • Restore felons’ voting rights after serving their prison sentences (something Florida added to its Constitution in 2018)
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: Implications for Essential Democratic Freedoms Worldwide

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: Implications for Essential Democratic Freedoms Worldwide

If you’ve watched or read the news lately, then you know it’s next to impossible to check on what’s happening in the world without coming across a story or video about Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine. As many as 6.5 million Ukrainians have been displaced so far in the conflict, and the brutal suppression of key freedoms like free speech, free press and peaceful assembly goes completely against the principles of democracy.

But amidst the chaos, conflict, uncertainty and tragedy, there is also hope. There have been numerous stories of brave Ukrainians standing their ground, fighting for their independence from Russia in the face of incredible danger. At First Amendment Voice, we believe that these core democratic freedoms are of utmost importance to protect; not just in the U.S. but abroad as well. In this special blog post, we will examine how the freedoms of speech, the press, and assembly have been impacted since the start of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. 

Freedom of Speech

Sunflowers, the Symbols of Resistance: One of the most common symbols of peace in Ukraine’s history is the sunflower, which also represents the unofficial national flower of Ukraine. On February 24 of this year, sunflowers became a widely-recognized symbol of resistance against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, thanks to a viral video of a Ukrainian woman telling a Russian soldier to “Take these seeds and put them in your pockets, so at least sunflowers will grow when you all lie down here.” Since then, sunflowers have appeared everywhere from emojis and beautiful artwork shared by artists on social media to fundraisers for Ukraine humanitarian aid, like these recent fundraising campaigns in Canada.

How Russia’s Invasion Could Impact Free Expression in Democracies Worldwide: In a fascinating interview with John M. Owen, professor of politics at the University of Virginia, Owen explained how freedom of expression and tolerance of dissenting views are essential ingredients for a healthy democracy. When asked what lessons that Americans and other citizens of democratic countries could learn from the events in Ukraine and Russia, Owen responded:

“Such events drive home to us that individual liberty is a precious achievement that can be taken away or weakened, even in the 21st century….As tensions with Russia mount in our own country, one thing to guard against is the tendency to do, in mirror-image fashion, what Russia is doing – to censor dissent, particularly dissent that favors Russia. Democracies must remain democratic, even under stress.”

Elon Musk Refuses to Block Russian Media from Starlink: Speaking of censorship, Elon Musk has made headlines multiple times during the conflict; at first, for providing Starlink satellite internet access for some parts of Ukraine, and later, for refusing to block Russian state media on the Starlink platform. Musk referred to himself as a “free speech absolutist” when tweeting about the decision, though some sources pointed out that Musk doesn’t seem to have the best track record when it comes to critiques from journalists and his own employees. 

Freedom of the Press

Social Media Companies’ Responses to the Russia Invasion of Ukraine: A recent Q&A report from Human Rights Watch conducts an in-depth exploration of the roles in which social media platforms and messaging apps have played in mitigating misinformation about the present conflict. One of the many important findings from HRW’s report stated:

“Since February 24, companies providing social media and messaging services have taken many steps in response to the war in Ukraine, most of them aimed at countering harmful disinformation, adding labels to or blocking state-sponsored or state-affiliated media, or introducing extra safety measures. Some of these measures apply to either Ukraine or Russia, some apply in the EU only, and some apply globally. Some decisions were made in response to government requests, some in defiance of government requests, and others in response to public pressure, or at the companies’ own initiative.”

For more information on global perspectives about social media and disinformation, view HRW’s full-length report linked above and don’t miss this 2021 report from the United Nations as well. 

Putin Threatens 15 Years’ Imprisonment for Publishing or Broadcasting “False Information” About the Invasion: A March report from NPR described a new law Putin recently signed that would impose a 15-year prison sentence on those convicted of publishing or broadcasting information deemed “false” by the Russian government. Concerningly, the law outlaws the use of words like “invasion” or “war” in media, which would effectively silence dissent from critics in Russia. 

Bravery of Journalists in Conflict Zones: An eye-opening feature from Nieman Reports reviewed several instances of Ukrainian journalists reporting under incredibly challenging and life-threatening circumstances, despite the post-Soviet era instability in press freedoms and severely limited funding that have impacted their work for years. As Nieman Reports pointed out, “The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a powerful reminder of the vital work these journalists and their newsrooms do — and how precarious press freedoms are in the face of aggression from Putin and other authoritarian leaders around the world.”

Freedom of Assembly

Global Peace Protests in Support of Ukraine: From the sunflower-adorned BELIEVE sign gathering in Reno, Nevada to the courageous Russians protesting within their own country (and being detained, in many cases), there are countless examples of people coming together to support Ukraine and speak out against Russia’s military invasion. As these photos from Global Citizen demonstrate, people all over the world are engaging in peaceful assembly to call for an end to Russia’s aggressions in Ukraine. 

Anti-Protest Crackdowns in Kyrgyzstan: Although the Kyrgyzstani Constitution and Civil Code presumably protect freedom of assembly and protest, the government has recently cracked down on protestors coming together in support of Ukraine. As The Diplomat points out, Kyrgyzstan is reliant on Russia’s economic and security resources, hence the reason why Kyrgyzstani government leaders appear to be striving for neutrality in the present conflict. Since the conflict began, protestors have been subject to fines and even arrested for peacefully protesting, which prompted Human Rights Watch to issue a statement demanding the end of anti-protest restrictions.

Final Thoughts on the Freedoms of Speech, Press and Assembly

As of this moment, we do not know how or when Russia will end its invasion of Ukraine. What we do know is that we must fight harder than ever to preserve our democratic liberties like freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and other freedoms enshrined in our First Amendment. Ukraine may be thousands of miles away from the U.S., but it’s clear that these freedoms must be protected and fought for globally.

Want to learn more about the impacts of foreign policy on First Amendment freedoms? Be sure to check out this captivating conversation from First Amendment Voice’s 2020 National Symposium.

Want to Get More Involved in Your Community? Start with These Volunteering Resources

Want to Get More Involved in Your Community? Start with These Volunteering Resources

We know there are many research-backed benefits to volunteering, but it can be challenging to find new ways to get more involved in our communities while balancing other personal and professional obligations. In the spirit of our upcoming Edward D. Lowry Memorial Award for Citizenship ceremony, this blog post will review some awesome resources for volunteers – and we invite you to share some of your favorite resources in the comments section below!   

Where to Find New Volunteer Opportunities 

City or County Websites: Many local government websites around the U.S. include designated sections for civic engagement opportunities.  

VolunteerMatch: Over 135,000 nonprofit organizations use the VolunteerMatch portal to recruit participants for both in-person and virtual volunteering opportunities. Since the platform was founded in 1998, it has connected more than 16 million people to volunteer gigs around the world. You can find a wide variety of volunteer options on VolunteerMatch’s website by searching for either specific causes to support or skills you can offer in a voluntary role. 

Volunteers of America: This nonprofit organization was founded in 1896 for the purpose of helping vulnerable citizens access basic living necessities like housing and healthcare. Today, more than 60,000 volunteers support the organization’s human service programs in more than 400 communities across the U.S. You can get involved by contacting a local VOA office or volunteering at one of their senior living and care communities. 

Volunteer.gov: Also known as “America’s Natural and Cultural Resources Volunteer Portal,” Volunteer.gov was established by the Bush Administration in 2002 and continues to be a fantastic resource for people seeking local, state and national volunteer opportunities. 

Valuable Readings About Volunteerism 

  • University of Kansas Community Toolbox: 

Inspiring TED Talks About Volunteering 

Lowry Award for Citizenship Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers 

The Edward D. Lowry Memorial Award for Citizenship recognizes the work of nonpartisan volunteers bridging divisions within their communities to promote the public good. Get ready to learn more about the positive work going on in countless communities across the country as FAV lifts up amazing community leaders and civic entrepreneurs who exemplify the following qualities: 

  • Relentless service to others 
  • Able to work across ideological differences for the common good 
  • Fearless advocate of the First Amendment principles 
  • Overcomes setbacks; strives on in the face of adversity 
  • Exhibits strategic thinking but able to translate that into results 
  • Inspirational: encourages others to give of time, talent or resources 
  • Consummate networking to connect organizations & people for community impact 

Nominations are due by March 15th to info@firstamendmentvoice.org with email title “2022 FAV Lowry Award Nomination.” You can also submit a nomination using the form linked on our home page. Learn more about the Lowry Award on our YouTube page! 

Religious Freedom in a Post-Pandemic World

Religious Freedom in a Post-Pandemic World

As FAV draws closer to the religious freedom panels beginning on Friday, let’s review the evolution of our perspectives on religious freedom over the last two years. At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, First Amendment Voice examined how religious institutions adapted to social distancing measures and other coronavirus-related restrictions as lockdowns were implemented in hopes of slowing the spread of the contagious virus.

A couple months later, we considered whether the First Amendment protects in-person religious gatherings. This question made it all the way to the Supreme Court in the case of South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, in which the conservative majority ruled to block the state of California’s ban on in-person religious gatherings but left in-place the ban on singing and chanting during religious services. 

In September 2020 – about six months into what many of us thought would be a short-lived public health crisis – we sought more uplifting news by exploring compassionate expressions of religious freedom during the pandemic.

Now, in 2022, we’re interested in how far we as a nation have come in regards to the role of religion in society and our ongoing commitment to protecting key liberties both within the U.S. and internationally. While there will surely be many articles, books, podcasts and other media produced on the topic of religious freedom during and after Covid-19, today’s blog post will focus primarily on recent studies’ findings about religious liberty and expectations for the future.

Becket’s 2021 Religious Freedom Index

Becket, “a non-profit, public-interest legal and educational institute with a mission to protect the free expression of all faiths,” published its third annual Religious Freedom Index in November 2021. While we always encourage our readers to review primary sources for themselves to gain the most comprehensive perspective possible, some of the most fascinating findings from the Becket report included:

  • The question of whether religious organizations that provide services and resources to their communities ought to be eligible for government funding received the greatest increase in support from the report’s respondents (71% supported the idea, compared to 65% in 2020).
  • The percentage of people who reportedly “appreciate the contributions religion and people of faith make to our country and to society” rose from 47% in 2020 to 54% in 2021.
  • In regards to activities at houses of worship during the pandemic, 62% of respondents classified funerals as “essential,” 52% classified worship as “essential,” and 43% classified weddings as “essential.”

For more information about the latest survey findings, be sure to check out the full Becket report linked above.

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2021 Report

The 100+ page 2021 Annual Report from the USCIRF examined religious freedom violations and improvements on more of a global scale. Some of the most notable findings from the 2021 report included:

  • USCIRF recommended that the U.S. State Department should designate four additional countries as “countries of particular concern” (also referred to as “CPCs,” in which “the government engages in or tolerates ‘particularly severe’ violations of religious freedom”). Ten countries already on the CPC list include: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. The four additional countries recommended for CPC designation in 2021 were India, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam.
  • Although religious freedom remains a concern in these countries, the USCIRF did not recommend that Bahrain, the Central African Republic, and Sudan be added to the Special Watch List (SWL) for 2021. 
  • In a June 2021 webinar with the Council on Foreign Relations, USCIRF’s Director of Outreach and Policy Dwight Bashir highlighted ever-growing concerns with China’s potential and actual harmful actions against minority religious groups, particularly the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity perpetuated against Uighurs in the Xinjiang region of China. 

Additional Resources on Religious Freedom in 2022 and Beyond

For more information about the state of religious freedom in the U.S. and abroad, the article, “COVID-19 and Religious Freedom: Some Comparative Perspectives” published in the open-access journal Laws in May 2021 offers in-depth analyses on the complicated relationship between governments and religious institutions during the pandemic. 

Additionally, First Amendment Voice has some programming on religious freedom coming soon.

    • This panel discussion will explore the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the concept of religious freedom as a framework for healing divides. The panel discussion will intentionally feature the voices of young emerging faith leaders at the intersection of racial equity, religious freedom, and public justice. This session will explore how innovative approaches to reframing religious freedom can address the ways in which the legal and cultural narratives in the U.S have largely privileged white Christians over others. The experiences of religious minorities and BIPOC communities have been largely excluded, leading to an incomplete and even harmful understanding of what religious freedom actually is or has the potential to be. This session will probe how to reimagine religious freedom’s interconnectedness with racial equity and its relevance for shared flourishing.
    • Too many people around the world are persecuted for their religion or belief. While statistics, when they are available, document this persecution, people can argue over what they mean and they can numb us into believing that events are beyond our control. In the divisive time in which we now live, advocating in support of religious prisoners of conscience, especially women and girls who suffer the often-devastating consequences of unjust and discriminatory laws and/or practices helps generate action and change, and brings people together as they work for their freedom.

This panel will focus on international religious freedom, the complex persecution women and girls face for their religious beliefs, and efforts that can be taken, individually and in community, to advocate on their behalf.

    • Freedom of religion is a constitutionally guaranteed right, established in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. This guaranteed and protected right is being challenged and systematically stripped away through litigation at both State and Federal levels. Religious freedom is more than practicing one’s belief in the privacy of their home or house of worship. The duty of practicing one’s faith or no faith at all, is not something granted by the government, and therefore, not something permissibly taken by it, either. Rather, it is a freedom attached to our humanity. It is a right meant not merely to permit religious worship, but for it to be exercised. It is a liberty not only to hold one’s convictions and conscience, but to speak about them publicly and to live them out freely. This panel will discuss the current state of religious liberty across our nation, the challenges, and the opportunities to ensure the constitutional right of every citizen to live their faith in the public square.
Research-Backed Benefits of Volunteering

Research-Backed Benefits of Volunteering

Most of us know that volunteering is essential for meaningful participation in civic life, but did you also know that there are several benefits of volunteering for those who get involved in community service? With the 2022 Edward D. Lowry Memorial Award for Citizenship nominations opening soon at First Amendment Voice, this post will celebrate the rewards of volunteerism and hopefully inspire more folks to get involved in their communities this year.

 

Who Volunteers?

First things first: have you ever wondered which groups are most likely to participate in volunteer opportunities in the United States? This fascinating report published by AmeriCorps found that the five states with the highest volunteer rates per capita include Utah (#1), Minnesota, Oregon, Iowa and Alaska. The same report found the cities with the highest volunteer rates in the U.S. include Minneapolis (MN – #1), Rochester (NY), Salt Lake City (UT), Milwaukee (WI), and Portland (OR).

Another AmeriCorps report on volunteer demographics found that over 32 million men and 44 million women collectively contribute over 6.9 billion hours of volunteer service. Breaking it down by gender, approximately 26.5% of American men and 33.8% of American women are engaged in volunteering efforts, which included performing tasks for one’s neighborhood, participating in local organizations, and/or donating to charity.

 

Perceived Benefits for Older Adults

A 2009 peer-reviewed study published in The Gerontologist found that a majority of volunteers reportedly felt better off as a result of their community service. One-fifth of the survey respondents said their health had improved after getting involved in volunteerism, more than half of respondents said their volunteer efforts also benefited their family and friends, and most respondents said they felt more aware of social and generational issues impacting their communities as a result of volunteering.

In another study published in The Gerontologist in 2021, researchers found that older adults who volunteer 100 or more hours per year tend to experience more positive self-perceptions of aging and, subsequently, fewer depressive symptoms.

 

Benefits of Youth Volunteerism

A 2017 study published in the journal Social Science Research found that encouraging volunteerism and civic engagement among youth may lead to multiple positive outcomes, including a greater likelihood of kids getting involved in volunteering later as adults, greater psychological well-being (for those who voluntarily participate in service opportunities), and a correlation between youth volunteering and both years of schooling and income.

 

Stress-Reduction Benefits for Those Who Care About Other People

An April 2013 study published in Health Psychology found that, for people who hold positive views towards others, getting involved in volunteering can reduce life stress and mortality rates. The second part of the study similarly found that volunteerism was associated with fewer stressful life events and reduced psychological stress among those with high world benevolence beliefs (in other words, they tend to believe other people are more good than bad).

 

Lowry Award for Citizenship recognizes Outstanding Volunteers

The Edward D. Lowry Memorial Award for Citizenship recognizes the work of nonpartisan volunteers bridging divisions within their communities to promote the public good. Get ready to learn more about the positive work going on in countless communities across the country as FAV lifts up amazing community leaders and civic entrepreneurs who exemplify the following qualities.

Criteria/Qualities

• Relentless service to others

• Able to work across ideological differences for the common good

• Fearless advocate of the First Amendment principles

• Overcomes setbacks; strives on in the face of adversity

• Exhibits strategic thinking but able to translate that into results

• Inspirational: encourages others to give of time, talent or resources

• Consummate networking to connect organizations & people for community impact

Nominations are due by March 1st to info@firstamendmentvoice.org with email title “2022 FAV Lowry Award Nomination” You can also submit a nomination using the form linked on our home page. Learn more about the Lowry Award on our YouTube page!