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Voter Rights and & Voter Disenfranchisement

Professional Attorney Protects Voting Rights in Montgomery, Alabama

Passionate lawyer preserves your role in the democratic process

In a democracy, the right to vote is sacred. If you meet the constitutional requirements to vote, neither the government nor any person can prevent you from exercising this essential civil right. Unfortunately, too many citizens do encounter opposition when they attempt to register or go to the polls. At McGuire & Associates we want your voice to be heard. We fight efforts to suppress voting directed toward groups and individuals in Montgomery. If your right to vote has been infringed, we are prepared to give voice to your complaint and to correct this injustice.

The slow progress of voting rights in America

When the United States came into existence, individual states set the rules for voting, but generally, only free, male property-owners could vote. As time progressed and society evolved, certain states opened the franchise to other groups, while other states resisted change. At notable times in our history, the U.S. Constitution was amended to extend voting rights uniformly for every state:

  • 15th Amendment — This amendment, passed during Reconstruction and ratified on February 3, 1870, prohibited states from denying voting rights to African-American citizens “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
  • 19th Amendment — Ratified on August 18, 1920, this amendment prohibited the federal and state governments from denying the vote “on account of sex.” When it passed, 20 states had already granted the vote to women for state elections, but the 19th Amendment brought other states into the fold and granted the right for federal elections as well.
  • 23rd Amendment — This amendment, ratified on March 29, 1961, granted the vote to residents of the District of Columbia and gave the district electors in the Electoral College.
  • 26th Amendment — The quickest amendment ever to be ratified, the 26th lowered the voting age in federal elections from 21 years to 18, which matched the age of draft eligibility. It became law on July 1, 1971.

The trend in the country has always been toward expanding voting rights. However, many would argue the expansion of rights has been too slow, and there is no denying that certain groups met resistance, which was often violent, when they tried to exercise their rights. African Americans in the South faced terror instigated by the Ku Klux Klan, other white supremacist groups, and Jim Crow laws that made their lawful rights practically impossible to exercise.

After decades of struggle, brought to a head in the 1965 March for Voting Rights from Selma to Montgomery, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which made voter intimidation, poll taxes and other methods of voter suppression illegal. Unfortunately, voter suppression did not completely disappear. Those who practice voter suppression simply became more clever about it.

How voter disenfranchisement works today in Montgomery

The days when jurisdictions tolerated blatant voter suppression may have passed, but tolerance for subtle and contrived methods of voter disenfranchisement still exists. Today’s political campaigns are armed with microdata that allows them to pinpoint neighborhoods where suppression of the vote could swing a district. Cut-throat campaigns are often willing to engage in unlawful tactics, which include:

  • Orchestrating long lines — Providing too few functioning voting booths to a polling place can cause a long wait, which discourages just enough voters to make a difference.
  • ID requirements — Changing ID requirements close to an election can leave voters unprepared to prove their eligibility.
  • Poll observers — While observers are supposed to look for irregularities in the process, many are there simply to discourage voters from supporting certain candidates or issues. This is a violation of the law that prohibits campaigning at polling places.
  • Last-minute changes of a polling location — If you can’t find the polling place, you can’t vote.
  • Misinformation about polling hours — Most polling places keep standard hours. But, if yours closed early, that could be an attempt at voter suppression.
  • Purging of voter rolls — Although it is important to keep voter rolls up to date to prevent voter fraud, the purging of rolls close to an election is often an attempt to prevent registered voters from exercising their rights.
  • Defective voting machines — Electronic voting machines have been the subject of controversy, with voters complaining the vote they cast defaulted to another candidate.

If you have encountered any difficulty registering to vote or voting, you can trust McGuire & Associates to respond aggressively to your complaint and vigorously pursue a remedy.

Contact a passionate civil rights lawyer for your voting rights case in Montgomery, AL

McGuire & Associates is committed to upholding the voting rights of all eligible U.S. citizens. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 334-651-8891 or contact our Montgomery office online. Our office is located at 31 Clayton Street, convenient to I-85 and I-65.

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