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A report released by the Center for American Progress, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., and the Southern Elections Foundation estimates the impact of voting restrictions on the ability of communities of color in Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia—jurisdictions that have seen significant increases in both the overall population and the rate of political participation of communities of color—to participate in the 2014 midterm elections. The report’s analysis of the available evidence from this election season strongly suggests that these new restrictions on the right to vote disenfranchised large numbers of voters.

The report concentrated on Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia for the following reasons:

  • Citizens of color in each of the five states participated in the past two presidential elections in record numbers and comprised a larger share of the eligible voting population than ever before.
  • The data provided by the 2010 Census demonstrate that communities of color in these states—and eligible voters within those populations—are rapidly expanding in size and are on track to continue this accelerated growth for the foreseeable future.
  • Each state introduced at least one new restrictive voting law or voter suppression policy that applied in the 2014 elections and disproportionately affected people of color.
  • Four of these five states—with the exception of North Carolina—experienced sharp decreases in voter turnout from the 2010 midterm elections, likely due, at least in part, to the laws making it harder to vote in 2014.

“The job of defending and advancing the civil rights of African Americans, people of color generally, and other vulnerable groups remains urgent and requires action.”