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Brennan Center for Justice Case Study: Defending the Right to Vote

    • The Challenge

      In the two years leading up to the 2012 election, there was unprecedented activity nationwide to restrict the ability of certain voters—especially young people and people of color—to make their voices heard at the ballot box. At the same time that new restrictions were being passed in state legislatures, challenges to the historic Voting Rights Act and its protections for minority voters were being heard in the courts. BerlinRosen worked with the Brennan Center for Justice to shine a spotlight on these attacks on our democracy and help protect voting rights across the country.

    • The BerlinRosen Approach

      BerlinRosen has been working closely with the Brennan Center since 2006 to communicate the need to overhaul the country's ramshackle election system. In response to increased activity at the state level to restrict voting rights following the 2010 election, we aggressively placed high profile stories on the laws and their impact on millions of Americans, raising the alarm well in advance of the 2012 elections. For example, we focused on the main conclusion of a Brennan report—that as many as 5 million Americans could be prevented from voting as a result of the new laws—to create an outcry and build critical mass. In the months leading up to the 2012 election, the 5 million figure was cited repeatedly in outlets around the country.

      As Election Day approached, BerlinRosen staff continued to refine our message and engage media, supporting the Brennan Center and their allies with messaging on the Voting Rights Act, the drafting of numerous op-eds and editorial board memos for national and state audiences on threats to our voting system and outreach to national and state press on voting restrictions and the need to modernize our election system.

    • The Outcome

      With the Brennan Center leading the charge, attacks on voting rights were pushed back across the country. From the Washington Post to USA Today to the Associated Press, the Brennan Center became the “go to” for information on voting rights in the 2012 race, and has remained so since the election ended and the effort to address challenges to the election system continued. Brennan was regularly mentioned on the national broadcast news, and their spokespeople are interviewed frequently on cable shows such as "The Rachel Maddow Show" and "Melissa Harris-Perry".