Protecting the Right to Vote: Tori Wenger Discusses Pros and Cons of Our Decentralized Election System

Tori Wenger ('19), voting rights attorney at NAACP LDF, was interviewed for a comprehensive American Prospect article discussing the advantages and disadvantages of America's decentralized elections process, voter ID laws, absentee ballot regulations and other elections elements that contribute to voter suppression, and how the coronavirus' challenge to in-person voting may produce rapid changes to our system ("The Many Varieties of Voter Suppression," May 26). "The way that people cast a ballot on a reservation may be very different than how people cast a ballot for anything in an urban environment [or] a coastal environment. Your vulnerabilities on Election Day, just thinking of weather alone, can be very regional, and so having the versatility of communities being hopefully responsive to local voters' needs is huge." Regarding voter awareness and the necessity of effective communications from state and local elections authorities, Tori noted, "Election administrators, elected officials, whoever, have often forfeited a lot of the work of communicating changes in the law or other things to nonprofits and advocates that don't have the resources and shouldn't have the obligation to let folks know about their fundamental right to vote. So often there just isn't information updated on the [state election] websites. And if it's not there, then where is it supposed to be? Who has the responsibility to make sure that voters in the easiest, clearest way to articulate know where they're supposed to go on Election Day? It's confusing and the ball is often dropped."