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.
|2016||‘The Voter Suppression Trail’ video game. Take a journey to the polls as a white programmer in California, a Latina nurse in Texas, or a black salesmen in Wisconsin and try to vote nytimes.com |
Find out if your vote can survive the great, flawed adventure of American democracy.
|2016.11.03||ACLU details its fights for right to vote in 2016 election. aclu.org|
|2016.11.03||Cheating at the polls basically doesn’t happen, but that hasn’t stopped generations of Americans from using it to keep minorities from voting. nytimes.com|
|2016.12.12||Wisconsin's voter ID is one of the harshest in the country, requiring one of a few specified forms of photo identification that many people do not have and can not easily obtain. aclu.org|
|2017.01.28||Recent court decisions in three states are putting carefully carved Republican-drawn state legislative districts at risk — and could even threaten the entire process of partisan map drawing. washingtonpost.com|
|2017.02.07||New group organizes to punish politicians who push voter suppression laws. huffingtonpost.com (See also First 100 Days)|
|2017.02.15||Given the evidence that voter identification laws suppress minority voting, how will Jeff Sessions's Justice Department deal with these laws, in Texas and elsewhere? washingtonpost.com (See also Department of Justice, Jeff Sessions, Assessment)|
|2017.07.17||Vice chair of Trump’s voter fraud commission wants to change federal law to add new requirements for voting, email shows washingtonpost.com (See also Voter Fraud)|
|2017.11.21||The Trump administration is leaning toward naming Thomas Brunell, a Texas professor with no government experience, to the top operational job at the U.S. Census Bureau, as he has testified more than half a dozen times on behalf of Republican efforts to redraw congressional districts, and is the author of a 2008 book titled “Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America.” politico.com (See also Assaults on Civil Liberties, Voter Fraud)|
|2017.12.05||Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission, after this summer's sweeping request to state officials to submit voter data, plans to create a massive voter database, which could be manipulated, leading the administration to wrongfully purge legitimate voters. washingtonpost.com (See also Unprecedented Actions, Fascism, Voter Fraud)|
|2018.01.03||The White House announced Wednesday that Donald Trump is dissolving his voter fraud commission after states failed to hand over requested information. thehill.com (See also Voter Fraud, False Statements, 2016 Election, Reversals)|
|2018.01.08||Donald Trump on Monday resubmitted 21 judicial nominees to the Senate whose nominations expired in 2017 ― including two rated “not qualified” to be federal judges by the American Bar Association. huffingtonpost.com (See also Assaults on Government, Legal Activity, LGBTQIA, Black Americans)|
|2018.01.09||The White House intends to destroy voter data collected by the election fraud commission recently shut down by Donald Trump, rather than transfer it to the Department of Homeland Security or the National Archives and Records Administration. politico.com (See also Corruption, Voter Fraud, Department of Homeland Security)|
|2018.01.22||Donald Trump’s voting commission asked every state and the District for detailed voter registration data, but in Texas’s case it took an additional step: It asked to see Texas records that identify all voters with Hispanic surnames, newly released documents show. washingtonpost.com (See also Racism)|
|2018.01.24||A request by the Justice Department to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census could shift the nation’s balance of political power from cities to more rural communities over the next decade and give Republicans a new advantage drawing electoral boundaries. washingtonpost.com (See also Racism, Department of Justice, Mick Mulvaney)|
|2018.02.12||The Trump administration’s controversial pick to run the 2020 census, Thomas Brunell, a political science professor who has defended Republican redistricting efforts in more than a dozen states, has withdrawn from consideration. motherjones.com (See also Resignations and Dismissals, Assaults on Civil Liberties)|
|2018.04.05||Donald Trump ditched his “boring” prepared remarks at a tax roundtable in West Virginia, and instead repeated his claim that “millions” of people are voting illegally and boasted that he was right about the threat of Mexican rapists. politico.com (See also False Statements, Voter Fraud, Mexico, Unpresidential Behavior)|
|2018.06.11||The Supreme Court on Monday ruled 5-4 in favor of Ohio's decision to kick thousands of registered voters from its rolls for not voting in recent elections and failing to respond to a notice from state officials. axios.com (See also Supreme Court)|
|2018.06.18||A federal judge permanently blocked Kansas from requiring people to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. huffingtonpost.com (See also Legal Activity)|
|2018.07.03||A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to provide details on its decision-making process for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, criticized the administration, and said that there was “strong” evidence that they acted in bad faith by adding the question, thehill.com (See also Immigration, Legal Activity)|
|2018.07.24||A cache of documents released by the Commerce Department provides further evidence that Secretary Wilbur Ross was pushing to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census far more actively, and much earlier, than his later sworn testimony indicated. washingtonpost.com (See also False Statements, Wilbur Ross, Department of Commerce, Immigration)|
|2018.08.01||Donald Trump has wrongly claimed that shoppers need to show photo identification to buy groceries. apnews.com (See also False Statements)|
A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about when the billionaire president last bought groceries or anything else himself.
|2018.08.27||A panel of three federal judges held that North Carolina’s congressional districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans over Democrats and said it may require new districts before the November elections, possibly affecting control of the House. washingtonpost.com (See also Legal Activity, Reversals)|
|2018.09.05||Federal prosecutors have issued sweeping subpoenas demanding that millions of North Carolina voter records be turned over to immigration authorities by Sept. 25, with just two months to go before the midterms, sowing chaos in the state’s election machinery, while renewing the Trump administration’s repeatedly discredited claims of widespread voting by illegal immigrants. nytimes.com (See also Unprecedented Actions, Voter Fraud, Immigration, Department of Justice)|
|2018.09.18||Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Congress earlier this year that he added a citizenship question to the 2020 census to help the Department of Justice enforce the Voting Rights Act, but contradicting that sworn testimony, new evidence shows that Ross received a memo several months earlier informing him that the Justice Department wanted to avoid monkeying around with the census because of “the whole Comey matter.” courthousenews.com (See also False Statements, Department of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, Corruption)|
|2018.10.11||The Department of Justice said in a new court filing that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross talked with Stephen Bannon, then President Trump’s chief White House strategist, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions about adding the citizenship question to the 2020 census, which is contrary to what he testified to Congress. thehill.com (See also False Statements, Wilbur Ross, Department of Commerce, Department of Justice, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon)|
|2018.10.11||The office of Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state and the Republican nominee for governor in November’s election, has stalled more than 53,000 voter applications, including a disproportionately high number of black voters, which is stirring concern among nonpartisan voting rights advocates and supporters of Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate, who is vying to be the first black woman in the country to be elected governor. nytimes.com (See also Racism)|
|2018.10.22||The Supreme Court shielded Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from answering lawyers’ questions in a lawsuit challenging his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census form. washingtonpost.com (See also Wilbur Ross, Department of Commerce, Supreme Court, Legal Issues)|
The government had asked the Supreme Court to block questioning of Ross as part of a lawsuit filed by several states, including New York, and civil rights groups. The groups are seeking to stop the administration from adding a citizenship question to the decennial count.
|2018.11.05||Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued strong warnings about the threat of voter fraud in the midterm elections, echoing the president’s baseless claims that massive voter fraud marred his 2016 election and prompting accusations that his administration is trying to intimidate voters. washingtonpost.com (See also False Statements)|
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