Insight

Time to Vote?

With the presidential election right around the corner, the right to vote is more important than ever. For some, there are obstacles to exercising their constitutional right.

Woman holding up an I Voted sticker
JZ

Janice Zhou

September 23, 2020 08:00 AM

As the November presidential election approaches, access to voting has been a hot topic. A Time magazine article addressed the issue of how states are battling over who gets to vote in the 2020 election. According to the article, 29 states have introduced at least 188 bills so far this year that intend to expand voting rights by making registration and absentee voting easier as well as restoring the vote to former felons.

On the other hand, in 15 mostly Republican states, legislators have introduced at least 35 bills that make voting more difficult by imposing stricter voter-identification requirements, according to an analysis by the Brennan Center of Justice, a non-partisan law and public policy institute.

One way that inhibits access to voting is voter-suppression laws that are intended to prevent voter fraud and protect election integrity. These laws take many forms, including cutting back on early voting, voter ID laws, and difficulties for people to vote when they go to the wrong precinct, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

We talked to three recognized Best Lawyers to ask them about their take on the current state of voting.

Nathan E. Siegel
Davis Wright Tremaine
Recognized for Litigation - First Amendment Since 2013

What measures are used to restrict voting?

Voter ID requirements, purging voter registration rolls based on overbroad criteria, reducing the number of polling places, limiting early voting, and prohibiting felons from voting even after being released.

What do you think of voter ID laws?

It’s enacted to make it difficult for low-income, disabled, and elderly citizens to vote, with [a special eye] towards deterring minority voters. The claim that they are necessary to deter voter fraud is entirely a pretext because there is no evidence of any significant problem with in-person voting fraud.

How can voting rights change for the better for the long term?

Restrictive voting laws serve the same purpose as poll taxes and literacy tests did in the Jim Crow era. Two recent Supreme Court decisions had the effect of greenlighting the modern wave of voting rights suppression—a 2008 ruling upholding a highly restrictive Indiana voter ID law and a 2013 decision striking down a key part of the Voting Rights Act. I hope they may one day be revisited.

Jonathan C. Puth
Correia & Puth
Recognized for Civil Rights Law Since 2016


What is your opinion on the current state of access to voting?

Access to voting currently is woefully substandard, where poor people and minorities face hurdles to registration, and closed polling places mean that working people must endure long lines and other disincentives to vote.

What do you think of the current state of voter suppression?

Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy; every effort should be made to ensure that all citizens be able to vote. We should dismantle obstacles to voting and invest in our elections to ensure the vitality of our democratic system.

How will access to voting impact the upcoming presidential election in November?

One would hope that the current efforts to depress voter participation will backfire and motivate people to vote. With the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, elected leaders should invest heavily and immediately to ensure that every citizen who wishes to vote can do so.

Matthew G. Kaiser
KaiserDillon
Recognized for Civil Rights Law Since 2018

How do state elections systems make voting harder?

They have been the target of systemic efforts to make voting harder and are chronically underfunded. When coupled with the dramatic change necessary to effectively vote during the current pandemic, it is a recipe for disenfranchisement.

What can be done to help with access to voting, especially during a pandemic?

Same-day voter registration would be a tremendous start. Or, in the pandemic, simply mailing a mail-in ballot to every registered voter in each jurisdiction would be a tremendous start.

Headline Image: ISTOCK.COM / TOVFLA

Related Articles

Washington, D.C. In the Law


by Gregory Sirico

We explore three legal cases in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. In the Law

Elections Dustup


by Rachel Shrewsbury

Two election security bills working their way through the Texas House and Senate are creating divisions within the Texas GOP and meeting stiff opposition from many who view them as voter suppression.

Elections Dustup

The U.S. Best Lawyers Voting Season Is Open


by Best Lawyers

The voting season for the 31st edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and the 5th edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America is officially underway, and we are offering some helpful advice to this year’s voters.

Golden figures of people standing on blue surface connected by white lines

IN PARTNERSHIP

Paulson & Nace, PLLC: A Pioneer in Personal Injury Law


by Best Lawyers

Since its inception more than 40 years ago, Paulson & Nace, PLLC, a Washington D.C., Maryland and West Virginia-based personal injury firm, has always led with compassion first. Here are some key insights from the firm on how to go about filing a personal injury claim.

Group of lawyers meet around a conference table

Best Lawyers Voting Is Now Open


by Best Lawyers

Voting has begun in several countries across the globe, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. Below we offer dates, details and answers to voting-related questions to assist with the voting process.

Hands holding smartphone with five stars above phone

A Roadmap for Safety in D.C.


by Justin Smulison

Three-time “Lawyer of The Year” Patrick Regan explains how we can protect cyclists from injury and the city from more litigation.

Several lawyers sitting and standing in a group in office

ESG Changing Texas’ Legal Landscape


by Gregory Sirico

Best Lawyers breaks down the growing industry trend of ESG standards and how its altering the field of law in the state of Texas.

Texas’ Ever Changing Legal Landscape

Aim High and Fly


by Khalil Abdullah

From a silent victim of hometown segregation to Air Force captain and lawyer of consummate skill, Karen Evans exemplifies leadership—and vows always to help those who seek to follow her path.

Karen Evans' Leadership in the Airforce

New York In the Law


by Gregory Sirico

Courts in the New York area have continued to hear cases, many of them years-long battles that are still ongoing. Here is a look at some recent court cases.

New York In the Law

Southern California in the Law


by Gregory Sirico

Courts in Southern California have continued to hear cases, many of them years-long battles that are still ongoing. Here is a look at some recent court cases in Southern California.

Southern California in the Law

South Florida In the Law


by Gregory Sirico

Courts in South Florida have continued to hear cases, many of them years-long battles that are still ongoing. Here is a look at some recent court cases in South Florida.

South Florida In the Law

Northern California In the Law


by Gregory Sirico

We explore three legal cases in Northern California.

Northern California In the Law

Tampa In the Law


by Gregory Sirico

We explore three legal cases in Tampa.

Tampa In the Law

Midwest In the Law


by Gregory Sirico

We examine five court cases that are ongoing in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota and Indiana.

A Look at Court Cases in the Midwest

A Quarter-century of Leading Client Service


by Justin Smulison

As Regan Zambri Long celebrates its 25th anniversary, co-founder and two-time Medical Malpractice “Lawyer of the Year”, Patrick Regan reflects on some of the firm’s most notable resolutions.

Regan Zambri Long Celebrates 25 Years

Washington D.C. 2022 "Lawyer of the Year"


by Best Lawyers

Subhashini Bollini is honored as 2022 "Lawyer of the Year" in Civil Rights Law for Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. 2022 Lawyer of the Year

Trending Articles

How Palworld Is Testing the Limits of Nintendo’s Legal Power


by Gregory Sirico

Many are calling the new game Palworld “Pokémon GO with guns,” noting the games striking similarities. Experts speculate how Nintendo could take legal action.

Animated figures with guns stand on top of creatures

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees


by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

The U.S. Best Lawyers Voting Season Is Open


by Best Lawyers

The voting season for the 31st edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and the 5th edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America is officially underway, and we are offering some helpful advice to this year’s voters.

Golden figures of people standing on blue surface connected by white lines

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

How To Find A Pro Bono Lawyer


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers dives into the vital role pro bono lawyers play in ensuring access to justice for all and the transformative impact they have on communities.

Hands joined around a table with phone, paper, pen and glasses

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom


by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

2021 Best Lawyers: The Global Issue


by Best Lawyers

The 2021 Global Issue features top legal talent from the most recent editions of Best Lawyers and Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch worldwide.

2021 Best Lawyers: The Global Issue

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023


by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

The Upcycle Conundrum


by Karen Kreider Gaunt

Laudable or litigious? What you need to know about potential copyright and trademark infringement when repurposing products.

Repurposed Products and Copyright Infringemen

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2024 Launch


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce The Best Lawyers in Australia™ for 2023, including the top lawyers and law firms from Australia.

Australian Parliament beside water at sunset

Best Lawyers Voting Is Now Open


by Best Lawyers

Voting has begun in several countries across the globe, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. Below we offer dates, details and answers to voting-related questions to assist with the voting process.

Hands holding smartphone with five stars above phone

Inflation Escalation


by Ashley S. Wagner

Inflation and rising costs are at the forefront of everyone’s mind as we enter 2023. The current volatile market makes it more important than ever to understand the rent escalation clauses in current and future commercial lease agreements.

Suited figure in front of rising market and inflated balloon

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers


by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US

A Celebration of Excellence: The Best Lawyers in Canada 2024 Awards


by Best Lawyers

As we embark on the 18th edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada™, we are excited to highlight excellence and top legal talent across the country.

Abstract image of red and white Canada flag in triangles

Presenting the 2024 Best Lawyers Family Law Legal Guide


by Best Lawyers

The 2024 Best Lawyers Family Law Legal Guide is now live and includes recognitions for all Best Lawyers family law awards. Read below and explore the legal guide.

Man entering home and hugging two children in doorway

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in Canada Honorees


by Best Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in Canada™ is entering its 17th edition for 2023. We highlight the elite lawyers awarded this year.

Red map of Canada with white lines and dots