Allegra Chapman

Allegra Chapman is the director of voting and elections at Common Cause.

Recent Articles

As Go Iowa and New Hampshire, So Goes the Nation? Let’s Hope Not

Both states are pursuing new voting restrictions that could have a chilling effect on democracy.

Mike Burley/ Dubuque Telegraph Herald via AP
With their first-in-the-nation caucuses and primaries, Iowa and New Hampshire generally set the trends for presidential elections. All eyes look to them to see what happens next. Let’s hope that their influence does not extend to election laws. In the past few months, legislators in both states have introduced—and Iowa lawmakers have passed—bizarre legislation that, if allowed to stand, will keep thousands from voting. Although courts have issued a handful of strong decisions over the past year defanging comparable bills in states like Texas and North Carolina, some legislators continue to push these restrictive efforts, attempting to do so in ways they believe will pass legal muster. Iowa Secretary of State Paul D. Pate, who earlier defended his state’s elections processes as “ clean and fair ,” introduced legislation in January that would require all voters (aside from nursing home residents) to present photo ID before casting a ballot. Pate...

Voting Rights: Will Court Protections Deliver?

Federal courts have overturned several state voting restrictions, but the struggle continues on the ground.

AP Photo/Chuck Burton
This article will appear in the Fall 2016 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . The electoral dirty work done by dozens of state legislatures in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision Shelby County v. Holder is the focus of determined legal challenges by voting-rights advocates, and decisions are coming down at a dizzying pace. Not every court involved has come down in favor of voters, but there’s encouraging evidence that judges, including conservatives, recognize state laws purportedly passed to ensure “voting integrity” for what they really are: suppressive tactics. States’ efforts to suppress the vote Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County , state legislators representing nearly half the country rolled back effective reforms and erected new barriers to voting. It was a throwback to the era before the 1960s, when Jim Crow laws finally triggered passage of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Section 5 of the...