Republicans have been doing everything in their power to make voting as difficult as possible. The gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 a few years ago added fuel to the fire. It’s important to be aware of all the voting restrictions the GOP has put in place since 2010 so we can be vigilant and work to turn the tide.
What happened in 2010?
After President Obama passed the Affordable Care Act, there was a huge backlash and Republicans swept both Congress and many state legislatures in November 2010. With Republican majorities all over the country, they started to make changes including making voting harder.
To make matters worse, the Census took place in 2010 and the GOP held the reins as each state went through the process of redrawing all the congressional and legislative districts, which locked in Republican power for a decade.
The Brennan Center for Justice tracks legislation involving voting rights and the chart above represents all of the states that have enacted legislation to restrict voting rights in some way since 2010. Some states enacted photo ID laws, others made registering to vote more difficult or restricted who could help with voter registration drives, some reduced voting hours, among other tactics.
You can click each state in Brennan Center’s interactive map (which you can see HERE) to see exactly what type of restrictions were enacted in your state.
Ugh! So now what?
For those of you who live in one of these states that has passed restrictive voting laws, it is crucial that you work with your local Democratic party organization or the local chapter of the ACLU or the League of Women Voters to get involved in voter registration and turnout drives. You have direct evidence that the Republicans in your state are trying to suppress votes, so you need to push harder to get the voters to the polls.
Also, the Democrats in the U.S. House have passed the For the People Act (HR1) that would expand voting rights nationwide, but it is currently stuck as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t allow the legislation to be considered. Calling your Senators to tell them that you want to have HR1 considered immediately, and that you want them to vote Yes on it, is a worthwhile phone call to make.
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There is a more potent remedy to Republicans’ racist voters suppression schemes than the VRA. Section 2 of the 14th Amendment bars government actions which would “deny…or abridge, in any way” the fundamental right to vote for minorities, women, seniors, and youths, including students. The remedy for violations is to strip the guilty states of US House seats and Electors in proportion to the numbers of the people who are harmed by the government. This bar could extend to federal harms like a “citizenship question” in the Census, without the state remedy being available