The American Civil Liberties Union today launched a video with Oscar and Grammy-winning artist and social justice activist Common that reminds voters of the urgency in 2018 to push criminal justice reform forward by electing candidates who embrace priorities like holding police accountable and ending mass incarceration.
The video urges users to access VoteSmartJustice.org, where they can find information on where thousands of candidates for office stand on criminal justice reform and mass incarceration. It is a component of the ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice’s non-partisan electoral project to educate voters about the role of elected politicians in the creation and maintenance of mass incarceration and to push candidates to adopt platforms that embrace criminal justice reform.
“I’m honored to join the ACLU in releasing this website. I consider this one of the most resourceful tools for people across the nation to learn about who represents their interests,” said Common. “We can see who is about the change we are looking for. I am personally seeking out information on people and issues that I’m voting on, and this is one of the tools within our community to understand who to vote in and who to vote out.”
On VoteSmartJustice.org, users will be able to input their address to learn about where candidates running for office in their district stand on criminal justice reform issues, based on their legislative voting records and public statements. Voters will be able to access information on whether candidates are supportive or opposed to reforms in a variety of issues including bail reform, drug law reform, unfair sentencing laws, parole laws, and policing. For candidates with no public record, users will be encouraged to contact the candidate directly.
The website also provides information on how users can volunteer and get involved in Smart Justice campaign work happening in their state.
“Common has been a tireless advocate for reforming the criminal justice system, and we’re proud to partner with him to help ensure America votes Smart Justice in 2018,” said Udi Ofer, director of the ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice. “Millions of people — particularly people of color — are targeted and victimized by our broken criminal justice system, but we can change that if we elect leaders who prioritize people instead of prisons.”
Through Vote Smart Justice 2018, the ACLU has already engaged in deep voter-education work around prosecutorial elections across the country to help voters understand the power and influence that their local district attorney holds over decisions related to the criminal justice system.
The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is an unprecedented, multiyear effort to reduce the U.S. jail and prison population by 50 percent and to combat racial disparities in the criminal justice system. We are working in all 50 states for reforms to usher in a new era of justice in America. The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is fighting in the legislatures, the courts, and in the streets to end mass incarceration.
For more information about the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice: