In recent years, the United States Supreme Court and federal courts around the country have retreated from the vigorous protection of voting rights, enabling widespread anti-democratic legislation and governance – from racial gerrymandering to voter suppression to election interference. To discuss this trend, and how advocates are honing new strategies to overcome it, we hosted Raising the Bar: The Future of Voting Rights in New Jersey and Beyond, on May 22, 2024. During the virtual event, we explored the history of voting rights in the U.S., legal and legislative responses to their federal underenforcement, and opportunities and obstacles unique to New Jersey’s political landscape. 

Lieutenant Governor Tahesha Way, who has served as New Jersey’s Secretary of State since 2018, opened the program with remarks on efforts to expand ballot access during her tenure and timely reminders about the importance of voting this election year. 

Following her remarks, I moderated a panel of voting rights experts who are leading some of the most exciting, urgent, and pioneering voting rights work in New Jersey and across the country:   

  • Yael Bromberg, Principal, Bromberg Law LLC  
  • Sophia Lin Lakin, Director, ACLU Voting Rights Project  
  • Henal Patel, Law and Policy Director, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice  
  • Michael Pernick, Redistricting Counsel, Legal Defense Fund  
  • Caren E. Short, Director, Legal and Research, League of Women Voters of the U.S. 

Since our inception in 1960, the ACLU-NJ has worked to ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote can make their voice heard in every single election. Currently, for example, we’re urging the passage of the John R. Lewis Voter Empowerment Act of New Jersey, which restores and supplements key provisions of the enfeebled federal Voting Rights Act to provide effective state-level tools to challenge racial discrimination in voting. Voting is power, and our ongoing efforts are aimed at helping to build the strong, inclusive democracy that New Jerseyans deserve. 

Be sure to watch the full event, presented with generous support from Lowenstein Sandler LLP, Nissenbaum Law Group LLC, CSG Law, NJEA, Pashman Stein Walder Hayden PC, The Puffin Foundation Ltd., and Guston & Guston LLP, and join us in our fight to protect and expand voting rights for all.