Voting Rights Are in Peril, and Democracy Hangs in the Balance

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The 2014 fall midterm elections are gearing up to be among the most significant in decades, since they have the power to determine the balance of U.S. political power. Yet new laws and election changes across the country—from photo-ID requirements and early-voting cutbacks to the removal of polling places and changes in election procedures—may block many from accessing the ballot box this November.

From coast to coast, millions of Americans’ right to vote is at risk.

Protections that were once instituted to guarantee the franchise now hang in the balance following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby v. Holder that dismantled key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

For the first time this year, voters in 15 states are facing an array of strict voting rules in major elections, according to a report released by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. And unless these laws are blocked by the courts—and there are court challenges to measures in six of those states—the votes of nearly half the country could go uncast in the 2014 midterm elections.

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