Visions of the Republic | State Solutions to State Problems: Using State Constitutions to Fight Voter Suppression

By Russell Spivak

Federal action has been undertaken throughout our nation’s history to both quell voter suppression and expand the franchise, countering racist state efforts to restrict the vote. In the face of shrinking federal solutions, those seeking to protect the vote must look for new methods. This Article proposes that advocates look more deeply at state constitutional law and pursue claims in state court to vindicate voting rights, as state constitutional provisions and precedent may provide fertile ground. In advancing this argument, the Article swiftly reviews the history of the federal government’s actions to protect voting throughout our nation’s history as well as the recent breakdown of those protections. Thereafter, it reviews a state constitutional avenue to demonstrate its viability.