Voter Suppression Laws Field Tested in 2014 Election, May Have Determined Outcome in Several Races

Posted Nov. 5, 2014

MP3 Interview with Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez, senior attorney with Advancement Project, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

votersuppression

As citizens across the U.S. cast ballots in the 2014 mid-term election, 22 states, most of them controlled by the Republican Party, had passed a variety of laws that made it harder for specific groups of people to vote. The measures included a reduction in the days and hours of early voting, new obstacles placed on absentee ballots, making the registration of new voters more difficult and imposing restrictive voter ID laws, which in Texas alone were estimated to prevent 600,000 citizens from voting. This avalanche of new voting restrictions followed the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling, which gutted a key section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

While Republican lawmakers assert new limits on voting rights have been introduced to prevent voter fraud, independent analysis has found no evidence to support their claim. Civil liberties and civil rights groups have long charged that the drive to make voting more difficult disproportionately affects minority voters and is part of a strategy to gain partisan political advantage for the GOP. Laws designed to disenfranchise voters appear to also target college students, low-income voters, senior citizens and legal immigrants who often vote for Democratic candidates.

Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez, senior attorney and director of Voter Protection for Advancement Project, a multi-racial civil rights organization that works to achieve systemic change on issues of democracy voting rights and access to justice. Here, she describes some of the voter laws her group has challenged through litigation – and the coordination of community organizing leading up to, and following the Nov. 4 election.

Find more information on Advancement Project at Advancementproject.org.

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