Voter Suppression

The right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights granted to U.S. citizens. Through this right, citizens partake in the governing of the nation and the preservation of all other rights. When the country was founded, only property-owning white men were granted the right to vote. After the Civil War and the abolishment of slavery, the Constitution’s Fifteenth Amendment prohibited the denial of the right to vote on the basis of race or color. In 1920, the right to vote was extended to women with the Nineteenth Amendment and in 1971, the voting age was dropped from 21 to 18 with the Twenty-Sixth Amendment. Despite these amendments, states can adopt any voting laws that legally discriminate as long as they are for reasons other than race, gender, age, or ability to pay a poll tax.

The 2016 election was the first election in 50 years to take place without the full protection of the federal Voting Rights Acts. In the years leading up to the election, Republican governors and state legislatures passed laws that disproportionately harmed students, the poor, and people of color. Millions of voters were eligible to vote but unable to due to newly erected barriers. 

This page will track the Trump administration's role in, and reactions to, voter suppression efforts.


Natalie Reed–The Nation

In her Feb. 6, 2017, article on Voter Suppression, Reed examines the variety of voter suppression tactics used by Republicans: 

In 2013, the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder effectively gutted the Voter Rights Act, permitting Republicans to employ a variety of voter-suppression methods that have since proved invaluable to their campaigns. These tactics will not only remain a factor working in their favor in 2018; they are very likely to significantly expand under the leadership of a man obsessed with the specter of “massive voter fraud,” desperate to prove himself both legitimate and loved by the people, and backed by a party in near-total control of all branches of government and eager to bend the rules to suit their political interests. The 2018 midterms elections could easily end up being compromised to the point that no realistic degree of popular opposition to incumbent Republicans would be sufficient to overcome them