PHOENIX - The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona today launched a new voter education tool, Vote Smart Justice, that will elevate criminal justice reform issues during the midterm elections and arm voters with the information they need to make informed decisions at the ballot box.
The website, https://votesmartjustice.org/state/AZ, is a first-of-its-kind tool that allows users to access information about candidates for Congress, governor, and the Legislature to see where they stand on criminal justice reform issues.
In conjunction with the launch of Vote Smart Justice, the ACLU of Arizona also released a new public opinion polling memo today that reveals support for criminal justice reform across the ideological spectrum.
The research, conducted by David Binder Research between August 23 and August 26, 2018, found that 81 percent of likely Arizona voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports criminal justice reform. It also found that 67 percent of likely Arizona voters, including 60 percent of white Republicans, are more likely to support candidates who pledge to reduce and speak out against racial disparities in the criminal justice system. In addition, 64 percent of likely Arizona voters want candidates who are committed to ending the war on drugs.
“Voters across the political spectrum recognize that our current justice system is ineffective, discriminatory, and costly and they want politicians who will change that,” said Tony Cani, political director of the ACLU of Arizona. “People are suffering every day because of our mass incarceration crisis that has been fueled by politicians passing ineffective laws. In a state where lawmakers have to make difficult decisions on how to spend our resources, more than $1 billion is being spent to incarcerate people with few options to rehabilitate them or to help them succeed once they are released from prison. Voters are fed up with it.”
Vote Smart Justice 2018 is a component of the ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice’s work to educate voters nationwide about the role of elected politicians in the creation and perpetuation of mass incarceration, and to push candidates to adopt platforms that embrace criminal justice reform.
On VoteSmartJustice.org, users will be able to input their address to learn about how 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 related to a variety of issues including policing, drug laws, unfair sentencing laws, and cash bail. 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.
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 of Arizona’s Campaign for Smart Justice: www.smartjusticeaz.org