THE INSPIRATION: Back in 2016, James Steinberger learned about gerrymandering—a silly-sounding word for a sinister form of voter suppression. Politicians use voter suppression to sway outcomes in an election. In gerrymandering, for example, the borders of a congressional or local legislative district are redrawn to load it with more of a politician’s supporters. “I was amazed to learn that democracy isn’t as safe as I thought,” the 18-year-old says. “People can use nefarious tactics to advance their own agendas.” Other forms of voter suppression include poll taxes (essentially making voters pay to vote), laws requiring voters show legal identification at the polls (not everyone has a government-issued I.D.), and voter roll purges (removing eligible voters from lists of who is registered to vote). In many states these tactics can unfairly affect voters of color (see “How Voter I.D. Laws Can Impact People of Color”). James was determined to fight voter suppression in the 2020 presidential election.
Strict I.D. laws can make it especially hard for voters of color to cast their ballots. Here’s why: