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ACLU Launches Voter Education Tool for 2018 Midterms With Info on Oklahoma Candidates

First-Of-Its-Kind Tool Launches as New Poll Shows Broad Bipartisan Support for Criminal Justice Reform 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 10, 2018  

CONTACT: Allie Shinn, Director of External Affairs, 405-314-4872; ashinn@acluok.org
Nicole McAfee, Smart Justice Campaign Manager, 830-334-1660; nmcafee@acluok.org

OKLAHOMA CITY -  The American Civil Liberties Union announced the launch of a new voter education tool, VoteSmartJustice.org, 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 is a first-of-its-kind tool that allows users to access information about thousands of candidates for Congress, governor, and state legislature to see where they stand on criminal justice reform issues. 


Information on Oklahoma candidates is available at https://www.votesmartjustice.org/state/OK


Vote Smart Justice 2018 is a non-partisan project to educate Americans on where candidates for office stand on criminal justice reform and mass incarceration. It is a component of the ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice’s electoral work 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 meaningful criminal justice reform. 


In conjunction with the launch of VoteSmartJustice.org, the ACLU also released a new public opinion polling that demonstrates consensus support for criminal justice reform across the ideological spectrum. 
            
The research, conducted by David Binder Research between August 23rd and September 8th, 2018, found that 78% of likely voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports criminal justice reform, including 72% of Republicans. It also found that 75% of likely voters, including 67% of white Republicans, are more likely to support candidates who pledge to reduce and speak out against racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Finally, 71% of likely voters want candidates who are committed to ending the war on drugs.

“This November may be one of the most important elections in history. Up and down the ballot Oklahomans have the chance to hold a referendum on education funding, criminal justice reform, the state budget, and elect all of the people who make decisions about these imperative issues on a daily basis,” said Nicole McAfee, manager of the ACLU of Oklahoma’s Campaign for Smart Justice. “Voters are ready to move on from the costly, ineffective and discriminatory incarceration policies that allowed Oklahoma to incarcerate people at a higher rate than anywhere else in the world. They want to elect candidates who embrace smart justice platforms and are committed to ending Oklahoma's mass incarceration crisis.”

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. 
Through Vote Smart Justice 2018, the Campaign for Smart has already engaged in deep voter education work around prosecutorial elections in Oklahoma 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, multi-year 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 Oklahoma’s Campaign for Smart Justice: https://www.yourdaok.org/