Voting Controversies

February 21, 2014 • Volume 24, Issue 8
Are U.S. elections being conducted fairly?
By Kenneth Jost


Demonstrators protest a controversial law pushed through the legislature (Getty Images/MCT/William Thomas Cain)
During the 2012 presidential campaign, demonstrators in Philadelphia protest a controversial law pushed through the legislature by Republicans requiring Pennsylvania voters to show a photo ID. The law, one of more than 20 state voter-ID measures passed since 2005, has been blocked by a court challenge, now awaiting an appeal. Similar laws are being challenged in at least four other states; several others are considering tightening voter-identification procedures. (Getty Images/MCT/William Thomas Cain)

Election laws and voting procedures have been a major source of controversy in the United States ever since the stunted recount in Florida that determined the outcome of the 2000 presidential contest. Republicans and Democrats have clashed fiercely in state after state over GOP-backed proposals to require government-approved photo IDs for voters to cast ballots. Republicans say the laws prevent fraud; Democrats say the laws are aimed at vote suppression. Court rulings on the laws are mixed. The Supreme Court added to the controversies with a decision in June to disable a major provision of the federal Voting Rights Act that required some states and localities with a history of discrimination to obtain permission from the government before instituting any change in voting procedures. A bill to restore the provision has been introduced in Congress, but no hearings have been scheduled yet. Election officials are also looking at recommendations from a presidential commission for online registration, more early voting and costly replacement of technologically obsolescent voting machinery.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Voting Rights
Jun. 25, 2021  Voting Rights
Oct. 02, 2015  Young Voters
Feb. 21, 2014  Voting Controversies
May 18, 2012  Voter Rights
Sep. 15, 2006  Voting Controversies
Oct. 29, 2004  Voting Rights
Feb. 28, 1975  Minority Voting Rights
Apr. 18, 1962  Protection of Voting Rights
Mar. 19, 1958  Right to Vote
Feb. 24, 1954  Eighteen-Year-Old and Soldier Voting
Sep. 13, 1932  The Solid South and Political Sectionalism
Jun. 18, 1928  Voting and Non-Voting in Elections
Campaigns and Elections
Civil Rights Movement
Supreme Court History and Decisions
U.S. Constitution
Voting and Suffrage