Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Who can vote today?
Ostensibly today any US Citizen 18 years of age or older can cast a ballot in a federal election. Realistically, there are many exceptions to this generalized principle, including some "legitimate" exceptions according to the federal government. Congress has enacted legislation to try and curb illegal voter suppression tactics. The Supreme Court has occasionally ruled to protect marginalized groups from targeted suppression. Still, there are many quasi-legal restrictions adopted in states to limit voter access today. While some voter suppression tactics are being challenged in the courts, many features of our voting system inherently discriminate against racial minorities, non-English speakers, economically precarious people, and incarcerated individuals among many others.
Brennan Center for Justice Resources
The Brennan Center for Justice is a "non-partisan law and policy institute" hosting news updates and more regarding voter suppression in the US.
Is "Voter Fraud" a substantial issue?
Voting by mail and absentee voting
from MIT Election Lab and Science Data, this website describes the history of voting by mail from the Civil War to the present in the United States.
Geographic Exclusions: Territories and the District of Columbia
Voting Rights and Incarceration
Contemporary Obstructions to Casting a Ballot
As outlined in The State of Voting Rights by Gilda R. Daniels, some current voter suppression tactics include:
- Polling place closures
- Voter ID laws
- Language barriers
- Voter registration
- Voter purges
- Felon disenfranchisement
Other obstacles related to casting a ballot
Citizenship and Voting: Inextricably Linked?
The Citizenship Clause: A Legislative History
Citation: Garrett Epps, The Citizenship Clause: A Legislative History, 31 IMMIGR. & NAT'LITY L. REV. 355 (2010).
Citizenship, Voting, and Asian American Political Engagement
Citation: Ana Henderson, Citizenship, Voting, and Asian American Political Engagement, 3 UC IRVINE L. REV. 1077 (2013).
A Critical History of the United States Census and Citizenship Questions
Citation: Thomas P. Wolf & Brianna Cea, A Critical History of the United States Census and Citizenship Questions, 108 GEO. L.J. ONLINE 1 (2019-2020).
Living in Infamy by
Call Number: KF9747 .H65 2014
Publication Date: 2013-12-18
This book discusses the history of felon disenfranchisement in the US.
America Votes! by
Call Number: KF4886 .A86 2020
Publication Date: 2020-09-01
Each edition of America Votes! explores issues of concern and problems that threaten the security and fairness of the American electoral system. There is much that needs to be done across a whole host of issues to restore confidence in the fairness, equity, and security of the voting process in communities across America.
Historic Obstructions to Casting a Ballot
Voter suppression tactics in the United States have been wide ranging and devastating to the democratic project. Strategies to repress enfranchisement in the United States continue to evolve and challenge the understanding that one citizen has one vote. Some key historical voter suppression tactics used historically to disenfranchise Black Americans include:
The Movement to Abolish the Electoral College