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Disenfranchisement is the act of preventing a person or group of people from having the right to vote or rendering a person's or group of people's vote less effective or ineffective. Disfranchisement might occur explicitly through law, or implicitly by intimidation.[1]

21st century voter disenfranchisement by numbers

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, while claiming to target immigrants who vote illegally, efforts to require proof of citizenship for voting could disenfranchise millions of U.S. citizens — primarily low-income, African-American, elderly, female and/or college-age voters.

Below is a list of disenfranchisement statistics presented by the Brennen Center for Justice:[2]

  • 7: Percentage of voting-age Americans who lack ready access to citizenship documents (at least 13 million people).
  • 12: Percentage of voting-age citizens with incomes less than $25,000 per year who lack ready access to citizenship documents.
  • 66: Percentage of voting-age women with proof of citizenship who have a document with current legal name. At least 32 million women may have proof of citizenship documents that do not reflect their current name.
  • 11: Percentage of voting-age U.S. citizens who lack valid, government-issued photo ID.
  • 18: Percentage of elderly U.S. citizens who lack a valid, government-issued photo ID.
  • 25: Percentage of voting-age African-Americans who do not have a valid, government-issue photo ID.
  • 8: Percentage of voting-age whites who do not have valid, government issued photo ID.
  • 15: Percentage of voting-age U.S. citizens earning less than $35,000 per year who do not have valid, government-issued photo ID.
  • 10: Percentage of voting-age citizens whose photo ID does not have their current address and legal name.
  • 18: Percentage of voting-age citizens age 18 to 24 who do not have photo ID with current address and name.

Disenfranchisement by Intimidation

Disenfranchisement by intimidation is particularly common in low income areas and on college campuses. Some examples:

  • The Montgomery County, Virginia the General Registrar of Elections issued a press release implying that college students who chose to register to vote at their campus address rather than their parents home address would be at risk of losing student aid.[3] Two days later the Montgomery County Registrar's office issued a revision of the previous message.
  • Flyers circulated in low income parts of Philadelphia asserting that police would be waiting at polling places prepared to arrest anyone with outstanding traffic tickets or warrants who tried to vote.[4]
  • Rumors circulated on Philadelphia college campuses that if a student votes using their college address, their parents will not be able to claim them as dependents on tax returns.[5]

Other techniques of disenfranchisement

See also

Ballotpedia:Index of Terms

External links

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