On Demand

Resisting Voter Suppression and Defending the Right to Vote

1h 3m

Created on January 16, 2018





Since 2008, states across the country have passed measures to make it harder for Americans - particularly minorities, the elderly, and students or first time voters - to exercise their fundamental right to register, vote, and have their vote counted. These measures include voter ID laws, cuts to early voting, prohibitions on out-of-precinct voting and same-day registration, and purges of states' voter rolls.

New research suggests that disenfranchisement due to suppressive restrictions may have been outcome determinative in the 2016 presidential election. In June 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the coverage formula of Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, leaving voters even more vulnerable to suppressive legislation. In the past decade, the civil rights community has responded by challenging voter suppression laws in state and federal courts. 

This program, taught by ACLU Voting Rights Project attorney Julie Ebenstein, who works on lawsuits challenging these kind of restrictions, will discuss recent developments in voting and election law and strategies to challenge voter suppression through advocacy and litigation. 

The program will provide an overview of voter suppression, beginning with the Supreme Court's decision in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board to the 2008 election, through the Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder and the period following Shelby County and the dismantled protection of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and what we can expect to face going forward. The course will compare the discrimination that preceded the 1965 Voting Rights Act to modern day second-generation barriers to voting, and include a discussion of the constitutional and legal protections against states' infringement on voting rights.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Review the history of voter suppression in the U.S.
  2. Assess how second-generation voting barriers impact the modern electorate
  3. Discuss recent court challenges to voter suppression
  4. Identify litigation strategies for protecting the fundamental right to vote going forward

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