Voting rights are under attack today through several mechanisms that are threatening what it means to be a democracy. We separated these mechanisms into four categories:
Gerrymandering and other anti-competitive acts of the two-party system. Redistricting is an act required by the Constitution to redraw voting districts every 10 years to reflect population growth. It is a state-owned responsibility that has long been recognized as an activity often manipulated by the party in power for partisan purposes. That manipulation is what we call “gerrymandering”. Today, gerrymandering has reached new partisan extremes as data is used increasingly to define voting districts that are more precisely crooked and purposeful in shape than in previous eras.
Acts of voter suppression are on the rise. New voter ID laws, voter purges, and other political dirty tricks are making it harder for people of color to register to vote and to cast their ballot.
Election security. Unfounded accusations of voter fraud, actual foreign and domestic interference, and vulnerable new technologies have in recent years begun to undermine the security and integrity of our elections.
The Electoral College is a decidedly undemocratic institution that has recently drawn increased attention because two of the last three presidents were elected to their first terms even though they lost the popular vote. Regardless of the merits for its existence, these results substantially contribute to the loss of faith in one person, one vote.
Despite recent victories against fraud in North Carolina, partisan gerrymandering in Michigan, and a strict voter ID law in Texas, the individual problems don’t seem to go away. When added together, their persistence continues to weigh against Americans’ trust and engagement in the political system. Coupled with knowledge of gross economic inequality and Congress’ inability to agree on solutions to healthcare access, climate change, and the national debt, the cumulative damage has been corrosive as whole segments of the population have reason to suspect that American democracy does not represent, include, or work for them.