Disputes over state laws that manipulate ballot access have become endemic in American politics.
Laws like the one adopted in Texas in 2021 restrict election policies, such as allowing drive-through voting or mailing out absentee ballots automatically, that are thought to give Democrats a slight advantage—and Democrats are overwhelmingly the party of the voters of color who were systematically excluded from Texas politics for generations through a series of creative and invidious devices, including such bizarre measures as a private, whites-only Democratic primary developed to avoid desegregation laws.
In closely fought North Carolina, 2 percent of Black voters were registered as Republicans in 2020, and the Republican Party has engineered large majorities in the state legislature through expert gerrymandering and voting laws that a federal court in 2016 described as “laser-targeted” at the Black vote.
The number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States is between 10 and 12 million and they are deprived of the vote. But even the 12 million who are legal but non-citizen immigrants cannot vote.
State laws disenfranchises 5 million people with felony convictions, and deny the ballot to one out of every sixteen Black citizens of voting age. That figure was recently more than one in seven Black voters in seven states.