Seven states currently discriminate on the basis of age in their vote-at-home (also known as absentee ballot) systems. Specifically, Texas, South Carolina, Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kentucky allow older voters to vote at home for any reason, but younger voters need specific excuses. Missouri may soon join this group of states if the Governor signs a pending bill to modify voting procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this novel report, a coalition including Equal Citizens, The Andrew Goodman Foundation, UCLA Voting Rights Project, Vote at Home Institute, and Stris & Maher LLP explains why these laws are unconstitutional under the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, which prohibits age discrimination in voting.
states discriminate on the basis of age in their vote-at-home systems
% of 18 to 24 year olds who voted at home in age-discrimination states in 2018
% of 18 to 24 year olds who voted at home in other excuse-required states in 2018
The [Twenty Sixth] Amendment’s history and Congress’s intent show that courts will likely find these laws unconstitutional, particularly in light of new challenges presented amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These laws use age to create two classes of voters—one with easier access to the ballot box than the other—and work to abridge the voting rights of younger voters. That practice is impermissible under the Twenty-Sixth Amendment.
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