WASHINGTON, DC — Many of the 2.4 million patients that Planned Parenthood health centers see each year are young people, people of color, or people with low incomes — all groups that have faced targeted attacks on their ability to vote.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 24 states have implemented new restrictions on voting since the 2010 election — including implementing voter ID laws and limiting early voting.
This is part of a larger effort to hinder turnout at the polls and disenfranchise people of color, people with low incomes, people with disabilities, and young people. Research shows that registration barriers, inflexible voting hours, and poll closures also disproportionately impact these same groups. Nationwide,roughly 6 million American citizens are barred from voting because of discriminatory ex-offender, disenfranchisement laws and recent polling shows voting is routinely harder for people of color than their counterparts.
During each election cycle, voter suppression tools — including improper voter purges, such as those in Ohio, which were recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court — keep countless eligible Americans from voting. And in recent years, the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which was intended to prohibit racial discrimination in the electoral process, has been under attack. In 2013’s Shelby County v. Holderdecision, the Supreme Court gutted the VRA, leaving many marginalized communities, including people of color, shut out of the electoral process.
Statement from Kelley Robinson, National Organizing Director, Planned Parenthood Action Fund
“Not everyone in this country has access to the right to vote, and the majority of those who do not are people of color. To live in a true democracy, where all voices are heard and represented, we must fight for those who are disenfranchised. Voter suppression is a racist attack on our democracy and is standing in the way of true representation.
“Voting is one of the most important tools people have to advocate for their fundamental human rights. It is critical that we make the fight for voting rights a high priority. We have a responsibility to ensure that communities who have been traditionally underrepresented, marginalized, and discriminated against have a mechanism to do so.
“Planned Parenthood Action Fund condemns all attempts to block people’s access to the polls because attacks on the constitutional right to participate in our democracy are, by extension, attacks on reproductive health care, immigrants, disability rights, racial justice, and LGBTQ rights. Instead, we are working alongside community partners to register voters and ensure that all voices are heard come November 6.”
Planned Parenthood Action Fund continues to join voting rights advocates in condemning voter suppression and fighting for everyone’s right to participate in the democratic process.
In Georgia, Planned Parenthood Votes is partnering with NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia and the GA Engaged coalition table to reach voters who have had their absentee ballots rejected for very minor infractions to ensure they can still cast their ballot. Together, they are providing this guidance to voters through their local phone banks and canvassing efforts. And on November 7, we will be joining dozens of other organizations in the Declaration of American Democracy to work collectively to pass a series of fundamental reforms to build a democracy where everyone participates, every vote is counted, voting rights are fully enforced, and everyone’s voice is heard.