Black voters and other voters of color were guaranteed free and fair access to the polls through the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. Prior to its passage, Black voters, primarily in the South, were routinely subjected to intimidation and deadly violence for simply registering to vote. In places where they could register, some voters faced literacy tests and poll taxes that effectively left them disenfranchised.
In some states, voter discrimination complaints worsened after a 2013 Supreme Court ruling gutted a section of the voting rights law requiring states with a history of discrimination to get federal approval before changing voter regulations. States have passed strict voter ID requirements, carried out voter roll purges and limited early voting in places where minority voters were disproportionately affected.
Election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the 2020 election went well, and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.
“It’s not the use of the word ‘legal’ vote, it’s the constant insinuation that there are so many illegal or fraudulent votes out there, ” said Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California Irvine and author of the Election Law blog. “There’s no evidence produced by the campaign to support there has been a lot of fraud. ”Morrison reported from New York, Stafford reported from Detroit, and Fernando reported from Carmel, Indiana. Associated Press writer Colleen Long in Washington contributed. Morrison, Fernando and Stafford are members of AP’s Race and Ethnicity team.