Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) released its highly anticipated Democracy Defended report, which documents and analyzes election-related activities undertaken by LDF during the 2020 election season, provides documentation of barriers faced by Black voters in target states for LDF’s Prepared to Vote (PTV) and Voting Rights Defender (VRD) projects, and offers solutions for policy makers, election administrators, and community members to ensure fair access to the vote across the nation.
“It is a mistake for people to assume that because an election produced a reliable result that it ran smoothly,” explained LDF Associate Director-Counsel Janai Nelson. “Our work during the 2020 elections revealed that failures at the state and federal levels to ensure fair, safe, and easy access to the ballot caused significant burdens for Black voters and other voters of color, as well as people living with disabilities.
“Further, this report shows how the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder— which took away crucial protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to safeguard against discriminatory voting legislation — has allowed burdensome policies and intimidation tactics to spread and multiply across the country. Additionally, Democracy Defended makes clear why relying on non-profit organizations, community organizers, and individual volunteers and voters to save our democracy is not sustainable. The burden to act rests on our elected leaders at every level, but especially Congress.
“The markers of a successful election are the ability of all voters to have unencumbered access to the ballot box and to have those votes counted. This is not the democracy we have today. Time is of the essence to stop the wave of voter suppression laws and the intimidation of voters and election officials. Until these attacks are put to an end by government officials, our democracy will continue to be in peril.”
On the state level, all states must:
Enact voting laws that ensure the franchise is available to every citizen.
Facilitate voter participation in elections by offering the widest range of options, including online and same-day registration, vote-by-mail, and early voting.
Repeal discriminatory voting laws that adversely impact the ability of people of color to register and to vote.
Utilize available federal funding to improve election administration procedures.