The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a landmark piece of legislation designed to protect a principle of American democracy: equality at the ballot box. But in some states, access to voting is becoming less and less equal. In the aftermath of a controversial 2013 Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to draft their own voting laws, voter ID requirements have become increasingly common across the country. Critics of these laws say that millions of Americans who don’t have the necessary identification—a disproportionate number of whom are low-income, racial minorities—now face excessive barriers to voting.
The Atlantic’s Vann R. Newkirk II breaks down what these laws look like across the country and what they might say about the state of American democracy.