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Voting Rights

We’re working to empower voters and eliminate disenfranchisement and discriminatory voting practices in the Deep South.

Launched in 2019, the Voting Rights Practice Group works across the Deep South in collaboration with community partners and organizers to engage and mobilize voters, restore voting rights to returning citizens, pursue electoral policy reforms, and bring litigation to challenge unconstitutional and discriminatory voting practices.

The United States has a long history of denying voting rights to its citizens, including people of color, women, young people, and people with disabilities. Despite the gains made over the past several decades, we face a renewed commitment by many in power to take us back to the old, shameful days of poll taxes, literacy tests, identification cards, and citizenship tests. In fact, since 2013, when the Supreme Court effectively gutted the preclearance provisions of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act — which provided the greatest legal protections to the most marginalized communities — we have seen states in the Deep South pass voter suppression laws that target the same communities the Voting Rights Act was enacted to safeguard.

In recent years, for example, states have gerrymandered maps to make it harder for Black and Brown people to elect candidates of their choice, imposed harsh voter identification laws, reduced early voting timeframes, targeted private individuals and groups who seek to assist voters with registering and voting, restricted alternative voting methods — particularly voting by mail — that have historically expanded access to the ballot, and reduced or eliminated the availability drop boxes. States have even banned people from offering snacks and water to voters waiting in line to vote.

Further, lack of training, oversight, and resources in conducting elections causes confusion, delays, and discriminatory outcomes for voters simply attempting to cast their ballot and have it counted. Until Congress restores the Voting Rights Act to its full strength and states pass progressive legislation, the fundamental right to vote will remain under attack.

The Voting Rights Practice Group’s efforts center on dismantling voter suppression tactics; expanding access to the ballot; redistricting and gerrymandering; enforcing federal voter registration and assistance provisions; improving election administration; and community outreach and engagement. Learn more about the practice group’s work here.

Photo by Chuck Burto/AP Images