About the Voting Rights Project

Document Date: May 20, 2013

Since its earliest campaign to thwart the notorious prosecution of the Scottsboro Boys in the 1930s, the ACLU has been intensely involved in civil rights. And for the past four decades the organization has won some of the most important and precedent setting cases to come out of the South, including those that: secured the principle of one person, one vote; established the right of women to serve on juries; outlawed racial discrimination in jury pools; ended racial segregation in prisons and jails; ended discriminatory practices such as at-large elections; and outlawed disfranchisement of individuals convicted of misdemeanors.

Established in 1965, VRP has worked to protect the gains in political participation won by voters of color since passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA). Since its inception, the Voting Rights Project has litigated hundreds of voting rights cases, and has aggressively and successfully challenged efforts to suppress voting or to dilute minority voting strength.

2012 was a banner year for the Voting Rights Project. The Project represented parties in two voting rights cases before the United States Supreme Court: representing plaintiffs in Arizona v. Inter-Tribal Council of Ariz., a successful challenge to Arizona’s imposition of onerous documentary proof of citizenship requirements for voter registration; and representing intervenors in Shelby County v. Holder, defending the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. During 2012, the ACLU also participated in litigation that successfully blocked the implementation of voter ID laws in Texas, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania; as well as reductions to the early voting period in five Florida counties in Florida. The Project also relocated from Atlanta to New York, with a renewed focus on fighting state voter suppression efforts throughout the country.

VRP is committed to defending the voting rights of all Americans, with legislative and litigation capacity in all 50 states. Since 2012, VRP has litigated four voting rights cases before the United States Supreme Court: Trump v. New York, challenging the Trump Administration’s (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census population count used to apportion seats in the House of Representatives; Department of Commerce v. New York, successfully challenging the Trump Administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census; Shelby County v. Holder (2012), defending the constitutionality of Sections 4(b) and 5 of the Voting Rights Act; and Arizona v. Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (2012), successfully challenging Arizona’s imposition of onerous documentary proof of citizenship requirements for voter registration.

The ACLU Voting Rights Project is currently litigating voter suppression and minority vote dilution cases in over a dozen states, from coast to coast, in every region of the country.

The ACLU Voting Rights Project is based at the ACLU National Office in New York, New York.

Staff of the Voting Rights Project

Dale Ho, Director
Sophia Lin Lakin, Interim Co-Director
Adriel I. Cepeda Derieux, Deputy Director
Julie Ebenstein, Senior Staff Attorney
Davin Rosborough, Senior Staff Attorney
Ari Savitzky, Senior Staff Attorney
Jonathan Topaz, Staff Attorney
Kelsey Miller, Skadden Fellow
Makayla LaRonde-King, Paralegal
Sarah Brannon, Managing Attorney
Patricia Yan, Staff Attorney
Amanda L. Scott, Paralegal
Ming Cheung, Staff Attorney
Megan Keenan, Staff Attorney
Dayton Campbell-Harris, Staff Attorney
Casey Smith, Equal Justice Works Fellow

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