The right of Americans to participate meaningfully in political life is under assault. For two decades, Advancement Project National Office has called for a nationwide movement to secure the ultimate protection for voting: an affirmative right to vote at the federal level.
Americans today face numerous barriers to the ballot box – strict voter ID laws, proof of citizenship requirements, discriminatory voter purges, draconian felon disenfranchisement schemes, and an assortment of inconsistent and complex voting guidelines at the state and local level. These barriers have a disproportionate impact on voters of color, low-income voters, and elderly voters.
Moreover, today, hostility at all three branches of government elevates legal and legislative schemes at the state and national levels that create those barriers to voting and building power for people of color. With the Department of Justice retreating on its oversight of discriminatory state voting practices and with the U.S. Supreme Court poised to further weaken national protections for voting, we are fighting against the dangerous narrative of voter fraud promoted by the current administration that is intended to justify further hurdles for voters of color, precisely as they become an ever larger proportion of the Growing American Electorate – poised to take power. This is no coincidence.
Much of our current work focuses on the great stain in our democracy during this era of mass incarceration – the mass denial of civil life to those who have paid their debt to society or endured wrongful conviction and imprisonment. Our right to vote work spans Louisiana, Virginia, Missouri and Florida, where in November 2018, we worked alongside grassroots partners to win Amendment 4 which restored the right to vote to 1.4 million Returning Citizens. Our long-time work defending the fundamental right to vote in Missouri has included several successful right to vote and rights restoration wins.