Voting Rights

June 25, 2021 • Volume 31, Issue 23
Is faith in U.S. democracy being eroded?
By Alan Greenblatt


Voting, the bedrock act of a democratic political system, has itself become one of the nation's most divisive issues. Republican-controlled states are on track to pass the most laws restricting voting and registration of any year in recent history, arguing that election fraud is a serious problem that needs addressing. Democratic-led states, conversely, are expanding access, particularly to absentee voting. In Congress, Democrats proposed setting nationwide standards for registration, absentee and early voting and the redrawing of congressional districts, but the measure lacked sufficient support to pass the Senate. Studies show that laws designed to either restrict or expand voting have had only minimal effect on turnout. Nevertheless, both parties are using heated rhetoric, accusing the other side of changing rules to permanently entrench itself in power. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump's repeated claims that the 2020 election was rigged against him have led many experts to worry that public faith in the U.S. election system may have been seriously undermined.

Photo of two women lining up to vote early in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 20, 2020. (Getty Images/Scott Olson)
Milwaukee residents line up to vote early in the 2020 presidential election on Oct. 20. While many Republican-led states are working to enact laws aimed at restricting when and where residents can vote, some run by Democrats are seeking to expand voter access. (Getty Images/Scott Olson)
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
Campaigns and Elections
Civil Rights and Civil Liberty Issues
Civil Rights Movement
Congress Actions
Conservatism and Liberalism
Federal Courts
Infectious Diseases
Organization of Congress
Party Politics
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Protest Movements
Reapportionment and Redistricting
Reapportionment and Redistricting
Supreme Court History and Decisions