Voter Suppression

Acting as a local election board, students think through how to make elections as free and fair as possible for their community.

Task Force: Voter Suppression

Uh oh!

You are a member of your local board of elections and you’ve seen the wave of voter suppression bills being passed around the country and the failed bills in Congress to protect voting rights. You want to make sure that the upcoming election is as free and fair as possible for members of your district, so you have to enact new rules that will combat voter suppression. 

Why Are We Doing This?

Some common forms of voter suppression include: uneven distribution of polling places, not enough convenient ballot drop boxes, voters being dropped from voter rolls, complicated rules for voting by mail, restricted or no early voting, drawing districts that benefit one party (gerrymandering), strict voter ID laws, complicated voter registration processes, among others. Voter suppression tactics have been increasing in the past several years since the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 and Congress has yet to pass new voter protections. 


  1. Conduct some research on voter suppression, what it looks like, where it’s most common, who is most affected by it, who benefits from it, etc. Also, look up what’s been going on recently in relation to voter suppression and voting rights. What are some recent laws/efforts that are thought to restrict voting? What is being done to protect the right to vote? 
  2. Next, craft your plan. Think about: 
    1. Which types of voter suppression are most important to tackle? 
    2. What do you think are the main barriers to voting in your community? 
    3. How will you ensure voting is as easy and convenient as possible? 
    4. How will you ensure that registering to vote is as easy and convenient as possible? 
    5. Who will be in charge of making election laws in your area? 
    6. Will voters have a system for reporting issues? What would that look like?  
    7. How will you make sure that voters are informed about their rights? The election process? The candidates? 
  3. Think through the possible objections to your plan and how you would respond to them .  
  4. Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your plan will help solve the issue of voter suppression. 

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • You do not have to come up with an exhaustive policy. It’s better to come up with a few ideas that you feel confident with and spend time thinking through possible objections to them. 
  • You don’t have to worry about answering all possible objections, but you should have some defense of why you think your idea would work. 
  • Your suggestions should be things that could realistically be implemented.