Voting Rights

To live in a true democracy where all voices are heard and represented, we must secure voting rights for everyone — no matter what. These days, it's more important than ever to know your voting rights.

Voting Rights

Planned Parenthood is proud to work with organizations and people across the country who are engaged in voter education and civic engagement. We understand that the fight for reproductive health and rights will only be won with the complete participation of everyone, especially historically disenfranchised communities.

The ability to preserve and expand access to reproductive rights rests on the right to vote.

Voter suppression harms those who are most impacted by anti-reproductive health and rights laws — communities of color, young people, LGBTQ people, and people with low-incomes — and it directly impedes their ability to fight back against political attempts to control their bodies and reproductive health. Without the right to vote, these communities all lose the right to choose and plan their futures.

 

Voting is your right and duty.

   If you have any questions about the voting process — from registering to reporting problems with the election system — call Election Protection coalition: 866-OUR-VOTE.

Visit Election Protection

Get Involved Locally

  Check out our list of Planned Parenthood political and advocacy organizations in your state to find local volunteer and job opportunities.

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Voter Suppression

What Exactly Is Voter Suppression?

Voter suppression is the formation of laws that lead to significant burdens for eligible voters trying to exercise their most fundamental constitutional right. Voter suppression shows up in voting restrictions that are often framed as measures to stop voter fraud and electoral corruption.

However, these restrictions aren’t solutions and instead create problems.  

And the list of voter suppression tactics doesn’t end there. Some of the most recently enacted voting restrictions that require photo identification. Texas, for example, recently implemented a photo ID requirement that requires forms of ID from a very limited list that hundreds of thousands of voters do not have access to, particularly African American and Latinx voters.  Texas also permits the use of a gun license as a form of acceptable photo identification but not a college or university student ID.

What are some examples of voter restriction laws that some states are using?

  • Changing and/or reducing polling locations

  • Changing polling hours or eliminating early-voting periods

  • Changing multilingual voter assistance

  • Gerrymandering

Why You Should Care About Voter Suppression

Voter suppression often disenfranchises people who belong to historically oppressed and vulnerable communities. People of color, the elderly, the LGBTQ community, students, people with disabilities, people with low incomes, and others are finding their political participation either denied or restricted. There are already so many roadblocks towards participating in voting for these communities: not having the required form of identification, being unable to take off time to vote with the risk of waiting hours at the polling location, and limited or no transportation to get to polls.

These disenfranchised groups just happen to be some of the very same communities who are hurt most by laws that block access to high quality, affordable health care at Planned Parenthood. The ability to preserve and expand access for reproductive care rests on the right to vote. Without the right to vote, individuals lose their power to choose, quite literally.

What’s more, we’ve already seen the impact of recent voter suppression laws.

The 2016 presidential race witnessed the impact of voters bearing the brunt of voter suppression without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. From the 2010 midterm election to September 2016, 20 states put new restrictions in effect — including 14 states that implemented the restrictions in 2016. 

The fallout of these restrictions made itself quite clear during this primary season. In South Carolina, vague photo identification requirements presented major roadblocks for low-income and minority voters. Meanwhile, the voter ID law in Wisconsin possibly prevented some 300,000 registered voters from casting ballots.


With so much at stake in every election, it is important that every voter has the ability to elect the candidate of their choice — free of unjust and inequitable voter suppression tactics. The history of our country shows that we are better off when more people have a voice in our political process. We should be passing laws that make it easier to vote, not harder. So let’s tell Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act!

Voter Suppression is an Attack on Reproductive Rights

“The history of our country shows that we are better off when more people have a voice in our political process – we should be passing laws that make it easier to vote, not harder.”

Cecile Richards’ statement honoring the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

 

It’s no secret that the same states actively working to suppress the right to vote are the same ones working to erode people’s access to reproductive health care and defund Planned Parenthood.  

Just two examples of this intersection:

The connection between voting rights and reproductive rights isn’t just a coincidence. When politicians establish barriers that disenfranchise and deny participation of  communities from voting, policies and decisions are made without the voices of communities most impacted.

Here’s the connection between voting rights and reproductive rights:

Voter suppression disenfranchises those who are most affected by anti-abortion laws. And who are these people? They are people of color. They are young people. They are LGBTQ folks. And they are low-income communities.  Regressive, inequitable, targeted voter suppression tactics keep them from having a voice on legislation that affects access to  reproductive health care and safe, legal abortion.

If Reproductive Rights Depend on Voting Rights, Then Voter Suppression is Yet Another Attack on Reproductive Rights

The reproductive lives of people of color, young people, LGBT folks and people in low-income communities are greatly at stake during the election season. The ability to preserve and expand everyone’s access to reproductive care rests on their right to vote. Without the right to vote, people lose their power to choose.