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Voting Rights in the United States: Introduction

This guide serves as a starting point for legal research regarding voting rights in the United States.

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What long voting lines in the US really mean

Key Federal Voting Legislation and Amendments

The Constitution:

  • U.S. Const. art. 1, §3, amended by U.S. Const. amend. XVII, §1, cl. 1
  • U.S. Const. art. 1, §2, amended by U.S. Const. amend. XIV §2
  • U.S. Const. art. II, §1
  • U.S. Const. amend. XIV
  • U.S. Const. amend. XV
  • U.S. Const. amend. XIX
  • U.S. Const. amend. XXIII
  • U.S. Const. amend. XXIV
  • U.S. Const. amend. XXVI

Legislation:

  • Civil Rights Act (52 U.S.C. §10101, 52 U.S.C. §§20701-20706)

  • Help America Vote Act (52 U.S.C. §20901-21145)

  • National Voter Registration Act or The Motor Voter Act (52 U.S.C. §20501-2051)

  • The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (52 U.S.C. §20301-20311)

  • Voting Rights Act (52 U.S.C. §§10301-10314, 52 U.S.C. §§10501-10508,  52 U.S.C. §§10701-10702)

Visit the Department of Justice Civil Rights Section for more information about voting rights legislation. 

National Association of Secretaries of State

"Founded in 1904, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) is the nation's oldest, nonpartisan professional organization for public officials.  Membership is open to the 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. Territories." Secretaries of state are often head of elections at the state level of government. 

Changes to voting in the era of COVID-19

Happening Now - The For the People Act of 2021

Is voting a constitutional right?

"Under Article I, Section 2, the members of the House of Representatives were to be chosen by the people; under Article I, Section 3, the members of the Senate were to be chosen by the legislature of each state; and under Article II, Section 1, the President was to be chosen by electors appointed by each state in a manner of their choosing. Otherwise, the United States Constitution was silent about the breadth of suffrage in the new nation." from Renalia Du Bose, Voter Suppression: a recent phenomenon or an American legacy? 50 U. BALT. L. REV. 245, 257 (2021).