The 2016 presidential election was the first since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down critical elements of the historic Voting Rights Act. As a result, several Southern states and other districts were able to revise voter ID requirements and close or change the location of polling sites without federal approval. Many have argued that these actions made it more difficult for historically disenfranchised citizens to vote. In this most recent election cycle, voters complained of voter suppression and intimidation efforts aimed at African Americans and Latinos, unusually long lines at polling places, and poll workers who turned eligible voters away due to a lack of proper identification.
On January 11, Governance Studies at Brookings hosted an expert panel focused on the effects and future implications of new voter ID laws. How did these new requirements impact African American and Latino voters, particularly in states and districts that enacted rapid changes prior to the election? To what degree was voter suppression and intimidation in action during the 2016 presidential election? And given the Supreme Court’s recent decision, what will be the future of the Voting Rights Act and how will the new administration handle rising concerns about its sustainability?
Deputy Director of the Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice - New York University School of Law
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