Shelby At 10: A Decade of Fighting For Our Freedom To Vote

Ten Years Since Shelby County v. Holder

For democracy to work for all of us, it must include us all. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder. Politicians immediately took advantage to use anti-voter bills and racist conspiracy theories to increase their power at the expense of our communities.

As a result, voters — especially Black, Latino, Asian American, and Native American voters — face many more barriers than White voters to making their voices heard in local, state, and federal elections.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is often called the “crown jewel” of the civil rights movement’s success. It encompassed essential protections to ensure we are able to make decisions about the future of our communities.

On June 25, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting were no longer required to submit voting changes for advance review (“preclearance”) by the federal government or a court — essentially gutting the power of the VRA to protect against voting discrimination before it happened.

The Shelby County decision unleashed a torrent of voter restrictions, tactics, and schemes that have continued to this day in their intensity. These have targeted people of color and low-income people by design and paved the path for restricting other rights and freedoms, like the case of Dobbs v. Jackson.

Since the Shelby County ruling, we have called upon Congress to restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act, but it has failed to do so.

Below you can find resources that describe the devastating impact of the Shelby County ruling on our democracy during the past decade and the resilience of our communities who continue to fight tirelessly for our freedom to vote.

Senate Hearings, 113th Congress to Present

House of Representatives Hearings, 113th Congress to Present

National Reports on Voting Discrimination, 2013 to Present

State Reports and Articles on Voting Discrimination in States Previously Covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, 2013 to Present


Ten Years After Shelby County v Holder: Charting the Path Forward for Our Democracy, Report by The Leadership Conference Education Fund, June 2023

Symposium moderated by Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL), House Administration Committee, “Shelby County a Decade Later: The Path Forward in Our Ongoing Fight for the Right to Vote”, June 28, 2023

We continue to update this resource page regularly. Please email Sofia Costas at [email protected] if you have any resources you would like to contribute.

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Did you know that millions of Americans can’t access the democratic process because of solvable problems in how elections are run? These problems aren’t felt equally across communities – voters of color are 6x more likely than White voters to wait longer than an hour to vote, even in the same town. Spread the word to help defeat barriers to the ballot box.

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