Contributed by -

Marc H. Morial


Bragging to donors that her organization secretly drafted voter suppression bills for state legislatures, using operatives to disguise the source and create a "grassroots vibe," Heritage Action for America Executive Director Jessica Anderson gushed, "Honestly, nobody even noticed." 

The burden of these laws – strict photo ID requirements, the elimination or restriction of Sunday voting, voting by mail and early voting, and closing of polling locations – overwhelmingly fall on Black voters.

State legislators drew new Congressional districts in North Carolina, where people of color made up 90% of the population growth in the last decade. They also eliminated a majority-nonwhite district that had elected a Black member of Congress since 1990 by siphoning 13 percent of the Black population into neighboring districts. The Brennan Center for Justice called the legislators "breathtaking in their aggressiveness."

"For generations, politicians have used these tactics -- voter suppression, gerrymandering, intimidation, and misinformation -- to exclude voters of color."

When the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1787 only granted land-owning white men were allowed to vote. It wasn't until the 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870 that Black Americans were guaranteed the right to vote. Although the rise of Jim Crow restrictions like poll taxes and literacy tests effectively disenfranchised Southern Blacks for most of the next century. 

The 19th Amendment in 1920 extended the franchise to women - in practically only white women - until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed most Jim Crow restrictions.

And since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the United States has seen a steady rise in disenfranchisement practices giving one party an edge over the other. But never before has the nation seen such an insidious and coordinated campaign to obliterate the very principle of "one person, one vote" from the political process.

"It is, in every sense of the term, a plot to destroy democracy."

The current anti-democratic wave began to rise after the 2008 election when Black voting rates matched white voting rates for the first time and helped propel Barack Obama to the White House. It crested in 2013 when the Supreme Court's Shelby County v. Holder decision gutted the Voting Rights Act's preclearance provision. And it broke against "The Big Lie," the relentless campaign to sow doubt about the 2020 presidential campaign and illegitimately declare Donald Trump, the winner.

Using data and analysis from our research partner, The Brennan Center for Justice, this year's edition of The State of Black America clearly outlines how unscrupulous state and federal lawmakers, devious political operatives, and violent extremists are working in concert to disenfranchise, delude, manipulate and intimidate American voters and establish one-party rule.

Our Partners

Key partners supporting the National Urban League's mission for State of Black America Report

Subscribe our newsletter!

Scroll to Top