Voter Suppression: What You Need to Know NOW

Blog / March 13, 2020

Voter suppression is the practice of employing strategies to unfairly influence elections, by preventing or discouraging people from voting. Voter suppression is carried out in many ways, including through strict voter ID laws, voter roll purges, gerrymandering, felon disenfranchisement and adding barriers to accessing the polls. Ending voter suppression is critical to defending a fair and thriving democracy.


Impact of Voter Suppression

  • Across the country, 16 million people were removed from voter rolls between 2014 and 2016. 
  • Right here in New York City, 200,000 people were purged from voter rolls in Brooklyn, preventing them from voting in the 2016 primary election.
  • Since 2013, over 1,000 polling centers were closed across the country, disproportionately in communities of color. Texas alone closed 750 polling centers, creating long lines. One man waited 7 hours to vote.

Why is Section 5 important?

In 2013, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was struck down by the Supreme Court. Section 5 required states and counties with a history of voter suppression to obtain approval by the U.S. Department of Justice before implementing any new changes to voting laws. Since section 5 has been struck down, states have acted to close polls, purge voter rolls, and implement strict ID laws and other barriers to voting without any oversight or accountability. 

What you can do NOW!

Support voting reform legislation that expands protections and access to voter participation. At the federal level, the Voting Rights Advancement Act H.R.4 (VRAA) and For the People Act H.R.1 (FPA) are two bills that support voting reforms. They have already passed in the House. VRAA would restore Section 5. FPA would expand and protect voting rights and reduce the influence of big money in politics.

3 Actions You Can Take NOW!

Contact your representatives!

Express your support for the Voting Rights Advancement & For the People Acts.



Help register people to vote!

Register 5 people to vote in NY. Then register 5 people in a swing state!


Become a nonpartisan poll monitor!

Find your local polling center and sign up to become a poll monitor.





Voting in New York

New Reforms You Should Know About

  • Early voting starts 10 days before an election in a limited number of polling locations.
  • Same day federal and state primaries simplify the process.
  • 16 & 17 year olds can pre-register.
  • When you move within the state your registration is transferred to your new address automatically.

Proposed New York Voting Changes

  • Automatic voter registration. 
  • Same day voter registration.
  • “No excuse” absentee ballot: you do not have to meet any criteria to receive a ballot.

New York Registration Deadlines

April 3
Register to vote in the 2020 Presidential Primary on April 28, 2020.
May 29
Register to vote in the 2020 State Primary on June 23, 2020.
October 9
Register to vote in the 2020 General election on November 3, 2020.

Where to Register

Register in person at your county board of elections or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You can register by mail by downloading the application and sending it to your County Board of Elections. 

College Students 

  • College students can register to vote at either their campus address or permanent/home address. You can only be registered and vote in one location. 
  • If you’re planning to register at your permanent address make sure to request an absentee ballot.
  • Learn more: