GOP Voter Suppression Laws Challenged Ahead of 2016 Presidential Election

Posted June 10, 2015

MP3 Interview with Jennifer Clark, counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, conducted by Scott Harris

votersuppression

Since the 2010 midterm election, 21 states, the majority controlled by the Republican Party, have passed an assortment of new laws that make it harder for specific groups of citizens to vote. Fourteen states will have new voting restriction laws in place for the first time in a presidential election in November 2016. These measures include restrictive voter ID laws, reduction in the days and hours of early voting and obstacles placed on registering new voters and accessing absentee ballots. 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. The flood of new regulations disenfranchising voters followed the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling which gutted a key section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Many 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. In a recent speech, former U.S. senator, Secretary of State and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called out Republicans for their "sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people from one end of our country to the other." Clinton is advocating the adoption of universal and automatic voter registration.

According to the Brennan Center for Justicem as of May 13 this year at least 113 bills that would restrict access to registration and voting have been introduced or carried over in 33 states. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Jennifer Clark, counsel with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program, who discusses the status of challenges to new voter suppression laws in states across the nation, ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

For more information about the Brennan Center for Justice's research on voting rights and elections, visit brennancenter.org.

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