GUEST: Joshua A. Douglas, professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law, focused on the constitutional right to vote. He is the coauthor of an election-law case book and a co-editor of Election Law Stories. His book is called Vote for Us: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting.
BACKGROUND: A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll has found that a whopping 75% of Americans and 85% of registered voters say they plan to vote in the 2020 Presidential election. Past elections in the US have struggled with turnout, in part because voters might feel apathetic but also in large part because we make it difficult to vote.
Unlike in many other democracies, American elections are held on weekdays rather than holidays. Strict voter ID laws have made it harder for elderly, rural, college-age, and brown and black voters to access the polls. Gerrymandered districts and the electoral college dilute our votes.
And yet the country has a rich history of fighting for the right to vote. That fight continues today in the face of myriad obstacles, and, according to a new book, there is reason to be heartened.