NAPCO Editorial Note: This story was originally published in the October/November 2022 issue of the ABA Journal. It is written by the ABA’s Governmental Affairs Office and discusses advocacy efforts by the ABA relating to issues being addressed by Congress and the executive branch of the U.S. government.
In a democracy, there is no more fundamental right than the right to vote. The ABA is dedicated to ensuring that all eligible citizens have the opportunity to help choose their elected leaders and make decisions on laws that will impact their communities.
As the nation engages in another high-stakes election season, the Governmental Affairs Office’s Election Center serves as a central location for substantive, nonpartisan information for all voters. The site at ambar.org/electioncenter was developed in partnership with the ABA Standing Committee on Election Law, the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, and the Young Lawyers Division, and it was launched in 2020.
The Election Center website is updated regularly and helps citizens find everything needed for Election Day. The election tools can help someone register to vote, check and update existing registration, and locate their nearest polling place. The site also offers state-bystate information on early and absentee voting, voting laws and key election dates.
Poll workers are integral to assuring free and fair elections, and lawyers are especially suited to help. The ABA’s Poll Worker, Esq. initiative was developed by the Standing Committee on Election Law in collaboration with the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors. It encourages lawyers, law students and other legal professionals to assist in elections by serving as poll workers.
Tasks may range from staffing polling places to processing returned ballot envelopes and more. Learn more at ambar.org/vote. Training for lawyers may be eligible for continuing legal education credit in some states.
To encourage and prepare lawyers and law students to promote voters’ rights and voting protection, CRSJ has launched the initiative Lawyers as Changemakers: Perfecting Democracy in collaboration with major national and voting rights groups. It provides lawyers and law students with resources and programming to help them get involved in efforts promoting voting rights and election protection—with a particular focus on Black people, Indigenous people, other people of color and other historically underrepresented communities.
The ABA Section of State and Local Government Law’s initiative, Defending Democracy, focuses on state and local election administrators and their work as they ensure the democratic process. Through programming at ABA meetings, webinars and publications, Defending Democracy educates the public about the important role election workers play on the front lines of our democracy.
The ABA is also continually updating its Election Administration Guidelines and Commentary, which describes best practices for election officials who seek to ensure the integrity of the election process. At the 2022 ABA Annual Meeting, the House of Delegates passed revisions that urge authorities to ensure the personal security of election administrators and voters during the voting process; and encourage election administrators to respond to election-related misinformation.
On the legislative front, the ABA is advocating on bills addressing voting rights and election reforms. This includes supporting amendments to the Voting Rights Act that restore Section 5 preclearance provisions and strengthen the litigation remedy under Section 2. The ABA also supports modernizing the Electoral Count Act by clarifying that the vice president’s role is administrative and increasing the threshold number of congressional representatives required to raise or sustain an objection to a state’s slate of
The ABA is committed to enhancing the integrity and public perception of the electoral process and to ensuring the nation’s election laws are legally sound and permit Americans the broadest, least restrictive access to the ballot box. Through education, advocacy and policies, the ABA will continue to lead in ensuring free and fair elections so that democracy can be protected and strengthened.