Updated: Feb 19, 2021
With this vital presidential election upcoming in November, advocates have been pushing for voting rights access, trying to ensure that everyone has equitable access in this time of the pandemic. Despite many efforts to broaden access, the Supreme Court has made several recent decisions that will make voting more difficult, more dangerous, and less equitable. Whatever the reasoning behind these decisions, this article sheds light on these recent decisions and what this will mean for the upcoming elections.
How do recent supreme court rulings support existing structures of voting disenfranchisement and discrimination at the polls?
How will the supreme court’s decision impact this coming presidential election, particularly in this time of COVID-19?
In the wake of Shelby v. Holder in 2013, a case that gutted the Voting Rights Act, states have passed increasingly restrictive laws aimed to disenfranchise voters, particularly those of color. Many of these laws, such as Voter I.D. laws, were passed under the guise of preventing voter fraud. However, voter fraud is extremely rare (only 31 credible allegations since 2001), and in this election, where voting by mail is the safest option for most Americans, does not stand as a credible reason to put restrictions on voting by mail. Additionally, crowded polling places puts voters who do have to vote in person (like those with disabilities and language barriers) at a higher risk.