Election Protection · You Have the Right to Vote

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Hot Topics in Elections

Suggested Reforms


In the heat of a campaign season, election administration is often entangled with partisan interests. As a result, the case for improving the voting system to ensure that Americans can exercise their most basic right is sacrificed for political considerations. Over the last decade, millions of Americans have been disenfranchised by a shortage of resources, administrative snafus, the misinterpretation of voting laws and political operatives who tried to game the system. That's millions of votes not cast, millions of Americans denied a voice. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle must improve the process before the same unnecessary outcome affects voters in the next election cycle. Action should be taken early - outside of the rancor of an election season - to address the problems votes face and provide needed resources and relieve to the nation's dedicated election officials 


Resources for Voters and the Home Mortgage Crisis

In response to requests from voters and coalition partners, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is in the process of creating factsheets to address questions relating to voting and foreclosures. Click "Read more" for completed fact sheets, and more will be added so check back soon! 

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Paraphernalia at the Polls

You may have received an email or heard a rumor that it is illegal to wear political paraphernalia such as t-shirts and buttons and that, if you wear political gear, you will be prohibited from entering the polling place to vote.  Laws on this subject vary from state to state and are often confusing.  This confusion is most pronounced at the polling place, where poll workers may not know, what, if anything, they should do if a voter wears political paraphernalia to the polling place.  Though there are certainly First Amendment concerns about preventing Americans from expressing their political choices, it may be easiest for voters to not wear t-shirts, buttons or other apparel that supports or opposes a candidate or an initiative.

Voter Purges

While maintaining valid voter registration lists is important, the fundamental right to vote is threatened when jurisdictions go too far and purge eligible voters from the rolls. Federal and state law does allow for voters to be removed from the rolls in some situations, but there are clear guidelines that must be followed. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires that certain standards are met when removing names from the rolls: the removal must "be uniform, non-discriminatory, in compliance with the Voting Rights Act, and not be undertaken within 90 days of a federal election."1 

1 The United States Department of Justice, http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/nvra/activ_nvra.htm

Student Voting

As a highly mobile population, and as a population relatively new to the voting process, students are at risk for disenfranchisement in voting. The Supreme Court has decided that students have a right to vote where they attend school, but the specific rules vary by state. 

Straight Ticket Voting

Election Protection has become aware of emails circulating regarding straight-ticket voting rules, with some claiming that voters must take certain actions to ensure that their votes will count. These emails may claim to have been “verified” through Snopes.com or other websites, but they leave out critical information and can confuse voters.