The UAW has been a leader in the struggle to secure economic and social justice for all people and has been actively involved in every major civil rights legislative battle since the 1950s, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) banned racial discrimination by the federal, state and local governments after a century of deliberate and violent attempts to deny voting rights to African Americans, Latinos, and any group deemed as “non-white” by those in power. The VRA is often held up as the most effective civil rights law ever enacted and is widely regarded as giving millions of U.S. citizens a voice in democracy and diversifying legislative bodies at all levels of U.S. government.

In 2013, the United States Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Roberts, ruled by a 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, that crucial parts of the Voting Rights Act were no longer valid.

Claims that vote by mail will lead to increased fraud and contaminate the election are false. Extensive research reveals that mail ballot fraud is very rare (as with other forms of voting), voter impersonation is virtually nonexistent, and many instances of alleged fraud are, in fact, mistakes by voters or administrators. Despite a dramatic increase in mail voting over time, fraud rates remain infinitesimally small. None of the five states (Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington) that hold their elections primarily by mail has had any voter fraud scandals since making that change. States that use vote-by-mail have encountered essentially zero fraud. Oregon, the pioneer in this area, has sent out more than 100 million mail-in ballots since 2000, and has documented only about a dozen cases of proven fraud. 0.00001 percent of all votes cast.


Voter suppression efforts by anti-worker politicians at the federal, state and local levels have been emboldened by the 2013 Supreme Court ruling in the Shelby County v. Holder case. The ruling gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that required federal oversight of election laws in certain Southern states.

In recent years, our country has witnessed some of the most extreme voter suppression attempts in decades. Twenty-five U.S. states have enacted voting restrictions, including strict photo ID requirements, early voting cutbacks and registration restrictions. Registered voters have been intentionally purged from voter rolls and hundreds of polling stations have been closed, many in predominantly African American communities.

Politicians at all levels of government have repeatedly, and falsely, claimed the 2016 and 2018 elections were marred by millions of people voting illegally. However, extensive research reveals that fraud is very rare, voter impersonation is virtually nonexistent, and many instances of alleged fraud are, in fact, mistakes by voters or administrators. The same is true for mailed ballots, which are secure and essential to holding a safe election amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Anti-union forces have also used similar voter suppression tactics to dampen turnout by union members in elections.

Gerrymandering has already expanded in several states, by manipulating voting districts through redrawing lines that weaken the voting power of certain groups. Gerrymandering in many states is used to further political agendas rather than to ensure fair representation of the citizens they represent.

The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of expanding voting options including online or vote by mail (no-excuse absentee), providing online and same day voter registration, and additional protections for in-person voting. Voters should not risk their health and safety to exercise their fundamental right to vote in the upcoming election. Long lines, confusion at the polls, voters not getting their ballots on time are just some of the reasons that Congress should direct funding to states to expand safe access to the ballot.

The House passed several UAW-endorsed bills to expand voting rights and reverse the Shelby County v. Holder case. However, these bills have not advanced through the Senate. The bills are:

The For the People Act (H.R. 1) which would make Election Day a holiday, limit efforts to purge voting rolls, expand same day voter registration and promote online voter registration.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) reverses the misguided Shelby v. Holder decision by the Supreme Court in 2013 that gutted voter protections established in the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The UAW supported this bill because it empowers Americans to vote and ensures that everyone has equal access to participate in the voting process, a core value of our democracy.


Our democracy and the future of our country

A voice in our democracy

Voter participation

Fair, safe and secure elections

DEMOCRAT – Joseph Biden and Voting Rights

“We’ve got to make sure our democracy includes everyone. Our politics is broken and excludes too many Americans. Until we fix campaign finance, voting rights and gerrymandering, it will continue to get more polarized, more ugly and more mean.”


Strengthen the Right to Vote.
Biden has pledged to restore the Voting Rights Act and then ensure the Justice Department challenges state laws suppressing the right to vote. He will support automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, and other steps to make exercising one’s right to vote easier. He will also support an end to gerrymandering and will protect our voting booths and voter rolls from foreign powers that seek to undermine our democracy and interfere in our elections.


Get out the vote.

Know your voting rights.

Register to vote.

Know where your polling place is located and know what to bring to the polling location.

If you cannot vote in-person on Election Day, you may be able to vote early or by absentee vote-by-mail ballot. It is your right to request an absentee ballot if you do not vote in person. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines if you vote in person.

If you make a mistake on your ballot, ask for a new one.

If the machines are down at your polling place, ask for a paper ballot.

Voters are entitled to a provisional ballot, even if they aren’t in the poll book.

Download PDF