Voter Caging

Fighting Voter Suppression Schemes

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.

votercagingConducted 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.

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Policy Paper: Maintaining Current and Accurate Voter Lists

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This report discusses some of the challenges for election officials inherent in maintaining accurate voter lists while ensuring no eligible voters are wrongfully removed from the rolls, and offers recommendations for implementing best practices. Read more

Model Bill: Voter Caging

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This document provides a template for lawmakers and other interested parties to draft bills in support of preventing voter caging practices. Read more

Legislative Brief: Voter Intimidation and Caging

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This2010 brief defines voter intimidation and voter caging, gives recent examples of both issues, and offers recommendations for preventing these problems in today’s elections. Read more

Caging Democracy: A 50-Year History of Partisan Challenges to Minority Voters

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This report reviews Republican voter caging operations during the last 50 years, culminating with the unprecedented number of large voter caging operations conducted across the nation in the 2004 presidential election. Read more

Summary Chart: Voting Caging Map

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Voter caging is a practice of sending non-forwardable direct mail to registered voters and using the returned mail to compile lists of voters, called “caging lists,” for the purpose of challenging their eligibility to vote. This map gives a 50-year history of challenges to minority voters. Read more