The 2022 midterms are poised to be the most consequential in decades, with issues like voting rights, women’s rights, and democracy itself at stake. Spurred by the myth of a “stolen” 2020 election, there is an increased risk of voter and election worker intimidation today and in the days that follow. However, the law makes clear that intimidating or harassing voters or election workers is illegal.
From armed volunteers staking out drop boxes in Arizona to people in Colorado going door-to-door looking for evidence of voter fraud, there is mounting concern about Americans being able to freely exercise their right to vote.
Voter suppression is an unfortunate but consistent feature of the U.S. political system. Limitations on the right to vote were codified in the June 2013 case of Shelby County v. Holder, in which the U.S. Supreme court gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act. This decision no longer required states and localities with a history of suppressing voting rights to submit changes in their election laws to the U.S. Justice Department for review.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, a nonprofit law and public policy institute named after Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr., in 2022 at least seven states enacted 10 laws that make voting more difficult – of these, five laws in five states are in place for the 2022 midterm elections. Overall, at least 405 restrictive voting bills have been proposed in 39 state legislatures.
Also this year, at least seven states have enacted election interference laws that are in place for the midterms. Overall, at least 151 election interference bills have been introduced in 27 states. During the same time-frame, twelve states have enacted laws expanding the right to vote. Overall, at least 628 bills with expansive provisions have been proposed in 44 state legislatures and Washington, DC. The Department of Justice is monitoring voting rights in polling locations in 67 jurisdictions across 24 states.
The Brennan Center has a new online resource that details federal protections and focuses on 10 states where the risk of election disruption is especially high based on the volume of false allegations and anti-voter activity. From state laws restricting guns at polling places to federal laws prohibiting a wide range of intimidating behaviors, these new resources cover the legal guardrails that protect elections from disruption.
Brennan Center experts have identified some of the most widespread false claims about who votes, mail ballots, vote counting, and more. Their new explainer lays out seven facts that debunk these rumors and demonstrate that elections are secure and trustworthy.
In a change from earlier this year, election denial candidates for governor and secretary of state are being significantly out-raised financially – largely due to unprecedented spending by big donors to support candidates opposed to election denial. The newest installment in the Brennan Center’s series tracking the financing of races for key election administration positions shows which candidates are dominating the money race in states that could be pivotal battlegrounds in 2024.
Vote counting is far from over on election night. Instead, finalizing election results involves a multi-step administrative process that takes place over the course of weeks. The Brennan Center guide explains what happens at 10 stages — from receiving ballots to verifying final results — and the safeguards that ensure the count is accurate.
Congress failed to pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act earlier this year, which would have given voters new tools to fight partisan gerrymandering. That failure will have consequences in the midterm battle for the House as Americans in 19 states will vote under maps presumed to be biased in favor of the party that drew them.
You can also learn more about how to exercise your voting rights, resist voter intimidation efforts, and access disability-related accommodations and language assistance at the polls at the American Civil Liberties Union online resource Know Your Voting Rights.
If a poll worker says your name is not on the list of registered voters, you are entitled to a provisional ballot. If you are turned away or denied a provisional ballot, or for other help at the polls, call the non-partisan Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
Analysis After The Vote
On Wednesday, November 9, 2022 from 3 to 4 pm (ET) the Brennan Center will host a free virtual panel discussion, “The Midterms: What Happened — and Where Do We Go From Here?,” to unpack the midterm election, what races and measures may still be waiting for results, and what’s next.
Panelists will include David Plouffe, architect of President Obama’s two presidential campaigns and senior advisor to him in the White House; Rob Jesmer, managing partner at FP1 Strategies with years of experience working for Republican Party Committees and on Capitol Hill; and Elise Jordan, writer and analyst at MSNBC. Guided by moderator Sewell Chan, Editor in Chief of The Texas Tribune, the goal of the discussion is to help us make sense of the results from both a national and local perspective and discuss the wins and losses of both parties. Registration online here is required.
The Brennan Center provides reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. Requests for accommodations for events and services should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 646-925-8728 for assistance.