Why Voter Engagement
The right to vote is essential for a well-functioning democracy; however, the United States has a long history of denying this right to all citizens, particularly Black citizens. Although the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment gave citizens the right to vote regardless of race, existing social structures and the passage of Jim Crow laws created barriers to voting for Black men and women. State legislatures passed poll taxes, literacy tests, and other measures to disenfranchise Black voters, who also faced outright intimidation, injury, and death for attempting to vote. Those who managed to vote often had their votes “misplaced,” destroyed, or “disqualified.”
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed to prevent racially targeted voter suppression. The Act placed constraints on Alabama and other southern states and required federal oversight of their voting procedures. It also prevented the gerrymandering of electoral districts to dilute the voting power of minority communities.
Today we face a new assault on the freedom to vote. In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down key sections of the Voting Rights Act and states immediately began to pass new restrictions on voting and aggressively removing individuals from voting rolls. In the wake of record-high turnout among Black and minority voters in the 2020 election, legislative efforts to restrict the freedom to vote have intensified.
Our Voter Engagement Mission
AISJ works to achieve meaningful and sustainable systems change that increases voter participation, engagement, and protection in order to strengthen and defend our democracy.
Voter Engagement Policy Agenda
Reduce Barriers to Voting
Increase eligible voters’ ability to access the ballot box through proven safe and effective measures including automatic and same-day voter registration, no-excuse vote by mail, early voting, curbside voting, and protections against voter purging and intimidation.
Register, Educate, and Engage Voters
Expand the number of eligible voters who participate in our democracy and believe in the power of their vote through voter registration drives, educational programs, and community engagement actions.
Create a non-partisan redistricting process, independent of the legislature, that maximizes citizen participation and adheres to legally set criteria such as contiguity, consistency, compactness, communities of interest, and equitable electoral opportunity for minorities.