Voter and poll worker exchanging a ballot during COVID-19, both wearing masks and gloves

Voting Rights Defender

Defending the right to vote.

Since the 1940s protecting the right to vote has been a core function of our work, through our litigation and advocacy efforts.

The Thurgood Marshall Institute’s Voting Rights Defender (VRD) project was launched in advance of the 2020 election to ensure voting suppression practices designed to disenfranchise Black voters could be quickly identified and addressed. We monitor, track, and respond to voter suppression efforts in our targeted jurisdiction to protect the right to vote.

We know that voting at its core is a local function. So we connect local community partners with a resource team to combat suppressive measures using public exposure/media coverage, advocacy efforts with local actors/decisionmakers (e.g. calls, letters, petitions), and, if necessary, litigation.

Need to report voter suppression? 

Whether you’ve observed polling place changes, voter purgers, long waits to vote, or faulty machines, we want to know. 

Report an issue to VRD