Improving Access to Voting

SCSJ focuses on ensuring access to the ballot and monitoring initiatives aimed at limiting that access.

Given the sharp increase in anti-democratic partisan entrenchment and voter suppression efforts, SCSJ plans to experiment with and evaluate new and innovative strategies to preemptively advance voting rights through advocacy, organizing, and communications. For example, identifying and advocating for administrative changes permitted by state law that make voting more efficient and accessible is increasingly important given the barriers that legislatures are placing on voting across the South. SCSJ's novel approaches to impact litigation and reframing of key voting rights issues have changed the discourse about voting rights. 

Election Administration and Protection cover image decorated with Black voter activist signage

Elections are designed to ensure self-determination for our communities — to decide how we equitably decide representation and resources.

Election Protection Efforts

We firmly believe that election protection and administration work must be year-round efforts every year, not just in federal election years. Maintaining this continuity makes it easier to identify and respond to voting problems early, create a network of engaged advocates, and build a better record for litigation. The ultimate goal is to specifically ensure that voters of color, historically disenfranchised voters, and, more generally, all voters in the South can elect their preferred candidates freely and safely.

Minimizing Barriers to Voting

SCSJ’s approach to election administration and protection ensures full access to the ballot and dismantles barriers to the vote. Barriers in the South include:

  • requiring photo ID at the polls,
  • restricting voter registration,
  • limiting or cutting election budgets, and
  • otherwise discouraging and disenfranchising voters.

In addition to providing county-by-county training to advocate for better election funding, more early voting options, and to count every vote, SCSJ lends legal support to previously incarcerated voters and others who might be targets for disenfranchisement.

Policy Advocacy

SCSJ’s election administration work and policy advocacy focuses on protecting access to the ballot and monitoring legislative initiatives aimed at requiring photo ID at the polls, restricting voter registration, or otherwise disenfranchising voters. In addition to trainings on advocating for more early voting sites, SCSJ has provided legal support to enforce the voting rights of people with felony convictions or misdemeanors who are in jail or prison. 

SCSJ strives to link claims for equitable representation with claims for fuller participation by all people. For example, voter ID requirements hinder effective participation by numerous groups, including young people, the elderly, and people with disabilities. We also provide zealous advocacy in the redistricting process to ensure the fair and full participation of all voters. By demystifying the political and legal processes around redistricting, and providing models for more inclusive democratic structures, we hope to generate broader policy reforms that improve the democratic process overall. 

Election Administration & Protection Resources

Read the 2020 Election Protection Report

North Carolinians — particularly our Black and Brown neighbors — have always faced an evolving array of barriers that prevented them from exercising their freedom to vote.

Read the 2020 Impact Analysis on NC's Mail-In Cure Process

Recent elections proved that interest in voting by mail has never been greater. We know demanding due process to correct mail-in voting issues will only save more votes, protect more voters, and strengthen our democracy.

Learn More About SCSJ's #MapOurFuture Tour

The #MapOurFuture Tour brings experts to your county for in-person and virtual events that show the consequences of new maps and connect redistricting to upcoming elections.

Election Administration & Protection News

Voting Rights

Common Cause, SCSJ File Moore v. Harper Respondents’ Brief Upholding Checks and Balances in Nation’s Elections

The Supreme Court justices will hear oral arguments in the major voting rights case on December 7, 2022 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 19, 2022 Washington, D.C. (October 19, 2022) — Common Cause, represented by counsel from Southern Coalition for Social Justice and Hogan Lovells, filed a brief today in Moore v. Harper, the voting rights case…

Read More Common Cause, SCSJ File Moore v. Harper Respondents’ Brief Upholding Checks and Balances in Nation’s Elections
Voting Rights

Statewide Voting Rights Advocacy Groups Release 2020 General Election Protection Report Detailing NC Voting Trends

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 25, 2022 DURHAM, N.C. (February 25, 2022) — Each year, Democracy North Carolina and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) work to identify and remove voting barriers. The 2020 Election Protection report documented our advocacy during one of the state’s highest turnout and safest elections on record. Central to our report is an analysis of…

Read More Statewide Voting Rights Advocacy Groups Release 2020 General Election Protection Report Detailing NC Voting Trends