This year’s presidential election will be the first without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act since the civil rights era. And we’d like to work with partners across the country to tell the story about how these changes are affecting citizens’ ability to vote in November.
In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially struck down Section 5 of the act, which had required regions with histories of discrimination to seek federal government approval for any changes that could affect voter registration or access.
The section applied to seven entire states: Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia. It also included regions of four others: Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho and North Carolina. (Here’s a map.)
We want to investigate changes enacted or proposed that could restrict citizens’ ability to access the ballot box, such as the new North Carolina voter ID law that’s now being challenged in court. And we want to tell these stories through the citizens who are fighting for their own franchise.
The stories don’t have to be in only these areas. Fourteen states have new voting restrictions in place for 2016. In addition to North Carolina, lawsuits also are pending in Arizona and Texas.
We may tell this story in two parts: one before the election; the other after the election. We could envision working with other news organizations to cover what happens on the ground on Election Day if there are long lines, registration problems or general tomfoolery.
So tell us what’s happening in your community and how you’d like to investigate it.
To pitch, please fill out this form. Begin your pitch title with “VRA.” Please tell us if you’re a journalist who wants to tell the story or a concerned citizen with a tip. And if you’re pitching a story that’s been covered already by the media, please send along some links of that coverage.