February 20, 2024

Five Organizations Expanding and Protecting Access for Black Voters

While we celebrate and honor Black history 365 days a year, Black History Month can serve as an important time to reflect not only on the ways Black communities have shaped and defined our country’s past, but how much further we have to go to ensure equity and representation for Black people today and in the future.

Voting rights are no exception. Though the means of silencing Black voters have shifted over the decades, denying Black people equal access to the ballot box has persisted from America’s founding to the present day. While the country has made enormous strides thanks to the tireless risks and advocacy of Black civil rights leaders and activists, we have a long way to go to ensure true representation for Black communities. And while some states are focusing on expanding ballot access to underrepresented communities, unfortunately, others continue to deteriorate already-detrimental voting landscapes.

In 2013, with its decision in Shelby v Holder, the Supreme Court gutted protections against racial discrimination in voting laws that were enshrined in the Voting Rights Act (VRA). These protections were originally intended to enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments and prevent the passage of racially-driven, restrictive election legislation in states with a long history of discriminating against Black communities.

While Shelby was not the first nor last major legal challenge to the VRA, the decision opened the floodgates to a wave of anti-voter legislation introduced in the past decade, especially in states that were previously covered by the VRA – from Texas to Georgia to North Carolina.

Now, in 2024, nearly 60 years after the VRA’s passage, we are still struggling to assert this most basic right in our Constitution and live up to our country’s promise of representative democracy. From racially gerrymandered maps, to felony disenfranchisement, to the recent flood of state legislative attempts to restrict voting access, Black voters face serious hurdles to the ballot box in states around the country.

Despite these attempts, Black voters play a critical role in U.S. elections year after year, determining election outcomes and rebuffing attempts to silence their votes. Responsive Government is working across the nation on ensuring Black voters have the ability to efficiently and securely register to vote. However, Black-led organizations are the ones leading the way on the front lines, persevering in the long fight to repair our democracy and pushing us towards a more just, equitable, and truly representative country for all.

During this year’s Black History Month, we wanted to take the time to highlight five organizations doing incredible work to protect and expand voting rights for Black people around the country.

The Voter Justice Project

Unfortunately, we see a disproportionate amount of Black Americans disenfranchised at the ballot box. The over-criminalization of Black communities and Black Americans and felony disenfranchisement laws intersect to deny the ballot to hundreds of thousands of Black Americans, including more than 15 percent of the voting-age population in states such as Mississippi and Kentucky. The Voter Justice Project works to reduce felon disenfranchisement and increase civic participation among the 19 million eligible individuals with felony convictions. Since 2020, the Voter Justice Project has worked to expand the electorate, increase civic participation and organizing voters, and build a durable voting rights restoration ecosystem. Over the years, they have worked with state partners to pass laws that restored voting rights to 286,000 people including 65,000 people in Minnesota and New Mexico last year.


The NAACP is a cornerstone American civil rights organization that has spearheaded and litigated some of the country’s most important voting rights fights since its founding in 1909. With more than 2,000 units (chapters) across the country, the NAACP not only fights to protect voting access through policy advocacy and legal channels, but engages and mobilizes Black voters through an extensive nationwide volunteer network. Learn more about the NAACP here.

Black Futures Lab

Black Futures Lab is an innovation and experimentation lab focused on new ways to engage Black communities civically and build political power. Recognizing that Black communities are often treated as a monolithic demographic group but rarely given a voice in policy issues, in 2023, Black Futures Lab led the Black Census Project, the largest survey of Black people administered in the U.S. in 157 years. They surveyed over 200,000 Black people across the country to identify priority issues for Black communities, inform public policy, and shape an agenda created by and for Black people. Black Futures Lab also works to register voters and provide important election information to Black communities. Learn more about their work here. 

Black Voters Matter

Black Voters Matter works to increase civic power in Black communities so they can determine their own destinies, through GOTV and voter registration, policy advocacy, and the development and training of local organizations working with Black communities. Since 2020, Black Voters Matter has run nationwide bus tours to engage, register, and mobilize Black voters around the issues that matter to their communities. At the end of January, they announced their 2024 “We Fight Back” bus tour, a response to ongoing attacks on voting rights across the nation that they hope will uplift Black voters’ critical role in the upcoming election. Learn more on Black Voters Matter here.

Black Girls Vote

Black Girls Vote is an organization dedicated to representing the concerns and interests of Black women in public policy, and ensuring that Black women have a say in the issues that impact them and their loved ones at the ballot box. From registering hundreds of Black high school voters ahead of the 2022 midterms to leading their Party at the Mailbox initiative, which provided Black voters with fun and informative voter registration kits during the pandemic and beyond, Black Girls Vote finds innovative ways to engage Black women and girls in the civic process. Learn more about their work here.