The ACLU works to protect and expand the freedom to vote through litigation, legislation, and voter education. The overarching goals of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project are: to ensure that all eligible voters have an opportunity to cast a ballot that will be counted; to make voting as easy and accessible as possible; and to make sure that all votes are counted equally.
The ACLU 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. We are the only civil rights organization committed to defending the voting rights of all Americans, with legislative and litigation capacity in all 50 states.
Three principles guide our work: (1) all Americans should be able to vote; (2) voting should be free and easy; and (3) all votes should count equally.
The ACLU Voting Rights Project's top priorities are: fighting statewide voter suppression; promoting electoral reforms to increase access to registration and the ballot for the historically disenfranchised; and eradicating racial discrimination in voting under the Voting Rights Act.
A Pennsylvania judge permanently blocked the enforcement of Pennsylvania's highly controversial voter identification law. The ACLU of Pennsylvania is lead counsel in the case. Read more »
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Kansas filed a lawsuit challenging Kansas' two-tiered voter registration system. The complaint charges that eligible voters are being divided into separate and unequal classes, in violation of the Kansas Constitution's equal protection guarantees. Read more »
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit charging that Wisconsin's voter ID law is unconstitutional and will deprive citizens of their most fundamental constitutional right – the right to vote. Read more »
The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice today filed a lawsuit challenging North Carolina's voter suppression law signed by Gov. Pat McCrory. The suit specifically targets provisions of the law that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit "out-of-precinct" voting. Read more »
We are advocating in Congress for laws to provide national standards to voting, which 90% of Americans support. In the mean time, we are pushing state-level efforts to expand access to the polls including expanding early voting, online voter registration, and same-day voter registration. The ACLU also pushes states to repeal Jim Crow-era laws that take away the rights of citizens with criminal convictions.
In a massive blow to civil rights and democracy, in June the Supreme Court struck down the current coverage formula of the Voting Rights Act—a case ACLU intervened in--that requires certain jurisdictions that have a history of discriminatory voting practices to get advance approval from the federal government before changing their election laws. This law has prevented some of the worst and most restrictive attacks on voting to go into effect.
The ACLU is currently working with Congress to implement a new formula that protects all citizens' right to vote. Read more »
The right to vote encompasses more than the ability to cast a ballot. The Voting Rights Act makes clear that this right includes "all action necessary to make a vote effective," and that it can be undermined by electoral arrangements that dilute the voting power of communities of color. Systems such as at-large districting, or district lines that are drawn unfairly—either by dividing minority communities or packing minority citizens into as few districts as possible can nullify the ability of minority voters to elect the candidate of their choice, just as effectively as would prohibiting them from voting. Read more »