Voter caging is the practice of sending mass direct mailings to registered voters by non-forwardable mail, then compiling lists of voters, called “caging lists,” from the returned mail in order to formally challenge their right to vote on that basis alone. Armed with no other evidence than returned mail, partisan operatives abuse state laws to file targeted mass challenges to voters.
Conducted under the auspices of voter list maintenance or “ballot security,” voter caging has largely been used by partisan forces to disenfranchise large numbers of minority voters.
Although public awareness of voter caging is relatively new, partisans have engaged in the practice on state and nationwide levels since the 1950s, culminating in an unprecedented number of voter caging operations across the nation in 2004. These efforts put hundreds of thousands of eligible voters at risk in the 2004 election, and resulted in a number of lawsuits.