ACLU Releases Roadmap to Combat Voting Rights Threats Posed by a Second Trump Term

The roadmap continues ACLU’s 2024 election policy memo series exploring likely policies from a potential Trump or Biden second term.

July 9, 2024 12:33 pm

NEW YORK — Today, as part of its 2024 election policy memo series, the American Civil Liberties Union released Trump on Voting Rights: Threatening Representational Equality, Restricting Voting Access, and Undermining the Integrity of Elections. The memo includes analysis of the likely voting rights threats and other anti-democracy policies Americans can expect from a potential second Trump Administration — along with a roadmap of specific legal, legislative, and advocacy measures the ACLU would undertake in response to these attacks if the former president wins in November. An accompanying blog summarizing the memo can be found here.

“A second Trump term would be catastrophic for every aspect of our elections: from who is counted when it comes to allocating our political power and billions in federal funds, to who is able to cast a ballot, to whether our election administrators can perform their jobs and voters can have their voices heard free from intimidation,” said Sophia Lin Lakin, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “He has promised to end our democratic processes. But we are prepared to fight in the courts, the streets, and the halls of Congress to defend our democracy and protect our right to vote.”

The ACLU’s analysis focuses on three main areas where Trump’s campaign promises pose significant threats to democracy and voting rights:

  • Adding a citizenship question to the 2030 Census — a move that would significantly reduce response rates among immigrant communities and exclude noncitizens from population counts.
  • Abusing executive power to suppress voting and interfere with elections with an aim toward disenfranchising, criminalizing, and intimidating voters and election administrators to challenge election outcomes that are adverse to him and his allies.
  • Rolling back federal progress on increasing voting access, particularly for traditionally marginalized voters.

The ACLU’s roadmap released today outlines multiple routes for defending voting rights against these attacks:

  • Litigation challenging these policies in federal court. Legal challenges brought by the ACLU during the first Trump administration stopped policies designed to undermine our democracy, such as his efforts to add a citizenship question to the decennial census.
  • Pushing Congress to pass crucial voting rights protections like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which restores and strengthens the Voting Rights Act to prevent racial discrimination in voting.
  • Demanding that state and local officials protect and strengthen voting rights through laws and policies that increase access to the ballot for every eligible voter, such as ample and consistent funding for updated equipment, election worker training, messaging campaigns to counter mis/disinformation, and measures to ensure election worker safety.

“Trump has already said the quiet part out loud: He will make it harder for you to vote,” said Molly McGrath, director of democracy national campaigns at the ACLU. “And then when he doesn’t win, he will discredit the election results. We at the ACLU stand ready with our volunteers across the country to demand Congress thwart Trump’s plans to undermine our democracy and focus on what our country needs, like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and other federal voting rights protections.”

From 2017-2021, the ACLU filed more than 430 legal actions against the Trump administration, including against its extreme anti-voting rights policies — from adding a citizenship question to the census to the “Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.” In the Trump on Voting Rights memo, the ACLU argues that the policies Trump and his supporters are advocating for on the campaign trail will be significantly more aggressive than those enacted during his first term, threatening voters and election administrators alike. Additionally, the ACLU discusses litigation responses as well as steps elected officials in Congress and state and local governments can take to fight back.

The Trump on Voting Rights memo marks the fifth of seven the ACLU is releasing on anticipated policies from a second Trump administration. Other topics include immigration, LGBTQ rights, abortion, the criminal legal system, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), and surveillance, protest, and free speech. Following its focus on policies from a potential second Trump administration, the ACLU will focus on policies of a potential second Biden administration.

All released memos will be available here:

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