Supporting Voting Rights for All Citizens
Since the Supreme Court overturned the Voting Rights Act in 2013, we have seen several states pass legislation that makes it more difficult for certain populations to register to vote and/or cast their ballot. Many of these bills disproportionately impact communities of color and/or low-income voters. This effort has intensified in 2021.
According to one count, as of March 24, legislators have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states. The various pieces of legislation relate to making voter registration more onerous, allowing local elections officials purge voter rolls, limiting early, in-person voting, and/or tightening voter identification requirements, among other things (there are a handful of states that are trying to make it easier for those of voting age to legally register and cast their ballots).
AACTE is concerned about the number of state legislatures attempting to limit a person’s ability to vote and the sheer number of bills that have been introduced. Unfortunately, in some states, these bills have a good chance of becoming law because the state’s government is controlled by one party.
Recently, AACTE joined nearly 50 higher education groups opposing efforts to restrict voting rights. The statement says, in part:
“Our educational institutions aspire to help create a just, vibrant, and democratic society. Colleges and universities believe that fostering informed civic engagement is a central goal of a postsecondary education. We teach students that there is no more important or better way to nourish a flourishing democracy than by encouraging all eligible voters to exercise their right to cast a ballot for the candidates of their choice …
For these reasons, just as the integrity of our electoral system is essential, we strongly oppose the many efforts currently underway across the nation to suppress voting by qualified voters. We stand with all who seek to expand rather than restrict voting and civic participation …”