Defending the Freedom to Vote

The Problem

Since our country’s inception, far too many Americans—particularly voters of color—have been disenfranchised at the ballot box. Unfortunately, voter suppression is escalating.

Historic voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election further catalyzed MAGA Republican-led efforts to suppress the vote and even overturn our elections. Joe Biden won states like Arizona and Georgia by razor-thin margins. In direct response, MAGA GOP state officials spent 2021 enacting at least 34 laws in 19 states that created barriers to the ballot box, especially for young Americans and voters of color. 

Devastating Supreme Court decisions in 2013 and 2021 that gutted the original 1965 Voting Rights Act—one of the crowning achievements of the Civil Rights Movement—made it even easier to pass anti-voter policies all across the country. 

Since then, we’ve seen early voting days cut, thousands of polling places closed, and millions purged from the voter rolls in an intentional effort to stop Black and brown Americans from exercising their right to vote. 

The Solution

The Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2021, would create national standards to ensure access to the ballot box for every American and make it harder to enact future policies trying to restrict the freedom to vote or overturn our elections. The Senate’s failure to eliminate the filibuster to pass these bills dealt a huge blow to the freedom to vote. 

But the fight for voting rights isn’t limited to Washington. With Congress deadlocked, Stand Up America and our local partners are leading the charge to protect and expand the freedom to vote on the state level. 

In recent years, we’ve helped pass laws across the country that protect and expand access to the ballot box for millions of voters. Stand Up America and our members have been on the frontlines of recent wins for the freedom to vote including passage of the Democracy for the People Act in Minnesota, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York, Promote the Vote 2022 in Michigan, and the New Mexico Voting Rights Act. 

Our defensive work also continues across the country as we push back against MAGA extremists and their attempts to overturn the will of voters and create barriers to voting, particularly for young voters and voters of color. To protect the outcomes of our elections in key states, we’ve helped elect democracy defenders as secretaries of state and win progressive control of state supreme courts. 

The Path to Winning

Particularly with Congress deadlocked, these state wins are critical to protecting the freedom to vote and building pressure for eventual federal action.

Working with local and state partners across the country, we will continue to expand access to the ballot box for millions of Americans by passing same day and automatic voter registration, expanding early and mail-in voting, keeping polling places open, passing state-level Voting Rights Acts that protect against racially discriminatory voting policies, and restoring the right to vote to currently and formerly incarcerated citizens.

Federally, we must elect a progressive majority to the House and Senate in 2024, including a Senate majority committed to ending the filibuster to defend our democracy, and keep a democracy champion in the White House so that we can finally pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.