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Fighting Voter Suppression

We protect every American’s right to vote, challenging those who seek to restrict Black, brown, female, and other voices in our democracy. 

Why It Matters

Voter suppression is any attempt to prevent or discourage certain Americans from registering to vote or casting their ballot. These measures often target specific groups based on race, ethnicity, political affiliation, age, or other aspects of voters’ identities. The most widely used forms of voter suppression include discriminatory voter ID and proof-of-citizenship restrictions, reducing polling place hours in communities of color, cutting early voting opportunities, and illegally purging voters from the rolls.  

Historically, voter suppression has overwhelmingly targeted Black Americans. After the Civil War, Black men were able to participate in elections once the 15th Amendment to the US Constitution was adopted in 1870, which states:  

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, or by any State, on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” 

Voter suppression in southern states raged in the form of laws to prevent poor and Black voters from participating in elections. These laws, known as Jim Crow laws, included poll taxes and literacy tests. Many of these voter suppression strategies remained in place until the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act.  

In 2013, the US Supreme Court removed key protections of the Voting Rights Act in the decision of  Shelby v. Holder. Since then, a surge of anti-voter bills have swept across our nation– with many being legalized. 

The League will not stand for this. 

What We're Doing

Legal Work  

The League is at the forefront of the most important federal and state cases across the United States. Our legal team works tirelessly to oppose all forms of voter suppression, including: 

  • Discriminatory voter ID laws;  

  • Attacks on voter registration; 

  • Last-minute Election Day barriers;  

  • The elimination of voting locations in underserved communities; 

  • Unjust voter purges; and 

  • Attempts to limit access to early and mail-in voting.  

Advocating to End Voter Suppression 

We support legislation that empowers Americans to participate in the voting process. These include: 

  • The Freedom to Vote Act: This bill would expand voting rights by expanding early voting and same-day and online registration, creating standards for upholding voter rolls, and authorizing voter registration at new-citizen naturalization ceremonies.

  • The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act: The John Lewis VRAA would restore and strengthen aspects of the bipartisan Voting Rights Act of 1965, enabling Americans to protect themselves from voting laws that discriminate based on age, race, ethnicity, and other factors. 

Featured Content

Fighting Voter Suppression In Depth

Hundreds of voting rights activists escalated demands for the White House to act on voting rights today, in an action that resulted in the arrests of more than 200 participants.
Over 200 activists were arrested outside of the White House advocating for President Biden to act on voting rights. 
On November 3rd, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v Bruen, marking one of the first times that the Supreme Court will address the scope of the 2nd amendment since 2008.  Their decision will have a significant impact on election safety.
The League of Women Voters of North Carolina (LWVNC), along with partners, asked to intervene in a lawsuit designed to purge eligible voters from the voter rolls in 40 North Carolina counties.  
League of Women Voters CEO, Virginia Kase Solomón speaks about how election administrators are being targeted across the country.
League of Women Voters of the US Board President Dr. Deborah Ann Turner issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s first floor vote on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

LWVUS joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights calling on the US Senate to move the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act forward for debate.

Voting rights activists escalated demands for the White House to act on voting rights today, in an action that resulted in the arrests of 59 participants, including leading youth activist Yolanda King, the 13-year-old granddaughter of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 
League President Dr. Deborah Ann Turner and CEO Virginia Kase sent the following memo to President Biden and his administration following the 2020 election.
Wednesday, Oct. 20, the Freedom to Vote Act came up for its first ever vote on the Senate floor. However, the bill failed to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to move forward, hitting a procedural roadblock on its way to protecting our democracy and expanding the voting rights of every American.