Since 2008, states across the country have passed measures to make it harder for Americans—particularly black people, the elderly, students, and people with disabilities—to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot. These measures include voter ID laws, cuts to early voting, and purges of voter rolls.
In June 2013, in a massive blow to civil rights and democracy, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the current coverage formula of the Voting Rights Act. The ACLU has been fighting this rollback of voting rights through both advocacy and litigation and is working to expand the right to vote for all Americans by challenging criminal disenfranchisement laws and expanding same-day and online voter registration.
What You Need To Know
- 2008In 2008, we had the most diverse electorate in U.S. history.
- 27From 2011 to 2012, 27 measures were passed or implemented in 19 states that make it harder to vote.
- 2013In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down what had been called the “heart” of the Voting Rights Act.
In order to bring voter registration into the 21st century and make voting as convenient as possible, the ACLU advocates for reforms that have been demonstrated to be extremely effective at making sure that all Americans who want to cast a ballot are able to do so.
Voting rights are under attack nationwide as states pass voter suppression laws. These laws lead to significant burdens for eligible voters trying to exercise their most fundamental constitutional right. Since 2008, states across the country have passed measures to make it harder for Americans—particularly black people, the elderly, students, and people with disabilities—to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot.
Since 1965, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) has protected minority voters at the polls. In June 2013, in a huge blow to democracy, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the coverage formula used for Section 5 of the VRA, which required jurisdictions with significant histories of voter discrimination to "pre-clear" any new voting practices or procedures, i.e., get federal approval from the Department of Justice, and show that they do not have a discriminatory purpose or effect.
The ACLU works to ensure that redistricting takes place in a fair way that accounts for the size of a district's population and its racial and ethnic diversity.
- CaseJanuary 30, 2015
- Blog Post - Speak FreelyDecember 11, 2013
- PodcastMarch 6, 2012
- InfographicJuly 8, 2014
United States Student Association Foundation et al. v. Land et al. - Complaint and Jury Demand of Intervening Plaintiff Lisa A. BlehmLegal DocumentJanuary 29, 2009
Georgia's Voter Registration Procedures Discriminate And Should Be Permanently Blocked, Civil Rights Coalition ArguesNews/Press ReleaseMay 24, 2010
- Fact SheetMay 20, 2015
New Hampshire Law Imposing An Unreasonable Burden On The Right To Vote Found Unconstitutional By New Hampshire Supreme CourtNews/Press ReleaseMay 15, 2015
- CaseApril 17, 2015
NAACP v. Husted - Settlement Agreement Among Plaintiffs and Defendant, Secretary of State Jon HustedLegal DocumentApril 17, 2015
- News/Press ReleaseApril 17, 2015
- News/Press ReleaseApril 15, 2015