Safeguarding the Right to Vote

August 20, 2013

This November will be the first presidential election in more than 50 years without a fully functioning Voting Rights Act. Voters in a number of states will face voting restrictions for the first time. From voter ID laws that threaten to disenfranchise African Americans, Latinos, students and elderly voters, to cuts to early voting and onerous requirements for voter registration, the right to vote is in peril.

Voting rights are the cornerstone of our democracy. Through amicus (friend of the court) briefs, legislative advocacy, and public education the Anti-Defamation League has worked to ensure that all eligible Americans can exercise their fundamental right to vote.

Protect the Right to Vote

The Voting Rights Act

Recognizing the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 as one of the most important and effective pieces of civil rights legislation ever passed, ADL has supported passage of the VRA and its extensions over the last 50 years, filed amicus briefs urging the Supreme Court to uphold the law, and encouraged the Department of Justice to use the VRA to protect voting rights for all.  In June 2013, in Shelby County v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the VRA, essentially gutting the heart of the law.  Learn more about the VRA and what the Court’s decision in Shelby County means for voting rights.

Advocacy in the Courts
Protecting Voting Rights After Shelby County

Voter ID

Many states have passed voter ID laws in recent years, requiring voters to show government-issued identification to exercise their fundamental right to vote.  Evidence shows that millions of Americans do not have government-issued photo ID and that it is difficult, and often impossible, for them to obtain it.  Voter ID laws disenfranchise eligible voters, and disproportionately affect minorities, the elderly, young voters, and those who live in poverty.  For that reason, ADL has consistently opposed voter ID laws and laws that require voters to show proof of citizenship to register to vote.