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, and young people. 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 gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act – Section 5 – 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 Section 5 was enacted to safeguard. Without Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, states and local jurisdictions have implemented election changes without any regard to whether those changes will harm voters. 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 expanding access to the ballot; redistricting, gerrymandering, and the 2020 Census; election administration; and community outreach and engagement. Learn more about the practice group’s work here.
Photo by Chuck Burto/AP Images