The Latest on Voting Rights
Voting Rights Cases and Actions
In light of the global coronavirus pandemic, CLC’s efforts to expand ballot access have taken on renewed urgency as national, state and local voters seek answers on how elections can proceed safely and securely.
Yakima County uses a voting system that consistently prevents its Latino residents from electing their preferred candidates to the County Commission. CLC notified the County Commission that this system violates the Washington Voting Rights Act, and called on the commission to adopt ranked-choice voting instead.
A coalition of civil rights groups and religious organizations are challenging numerous deficiencies in Georgia’s electoral system that impose serious burdens on the right to vote for eligible Georgians. These obstacles particularly impact Georgia’s residents of color, severely limiting Georgia’s ability to conduct free and fair elections. CLC represents the plaintiff organizations in challenging Georgia’s electoral system under the U.S. Constitution.
Most states restore the right to vote to people after they complete their sentences. In fact, up to 17 million Americans with past convictions can vote right now - they just don't know it because felony disenfranchisement laws in every state can be confusing. CLC launched a website, RestoreYourVote.org, and an on-the-ground campaign to help people with past convictions in all 50 states know their rights.
Texas instituted a new voter purge program targeting newly naturalized citizens. This was a discriminatory and unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, violating the 1st and 14th Amendments. On behalf of our clients, naturalized Texan Julie Hilberg and the organization LULAC, CLC successfully sued to block the law.
In November 2018, voters in Florida passed a constitutional amendment automatically restoring voting rights to people with felony convictions. In response, the state legislature passed a bill that conditions the right to vote on wealth — people with the financial means to pay fines and fees from a conviction have their rights restored, while those without means remain disenfranchised. CLC challenged the law in court, and in October 2019, a U.S. District Court ruled the law unconstitutional.
When the Tennessee legislature passed a law that would have imposed substantial penalties on groups that foster political participation through voter registration efforts, CLC sued on behalf of civic participation groups across the state. In September 2019, a federal court blocked the law, recognizing that it struck at the heart of free speech rights and imposed needless and burdensome regulations.