Voting and Election Laws

Find Constitutional amendments and laws that protect our right to vote. Learn about election crimes and how to report them.

Voting Laws and Constitutional Amendments

U.S. election laws date back to Article 1 of the Constitution. This gave states the responsibility of overseeing federal elections. Many Constitutional amendments and federal laws have been passed since then. These laws protect Americans’ voting rights.

Constitutional Amendments

  • The 15th Amendment to the Constitution gave African American men the right to vote in 1870. But many weren't able to exercise this right. Some states used literacy tests and other barriers to make it harder to vote.

Federal Voting Rights Laws

Federal laws passed over the years help protect Americans’ right to vote and make it easier for citizens to exercise that right:

State Voter ID Laws

Two-thirds of states require you to show some form of identification before you’re allowed to vote. Learn more about states' voter ID requirements.

Voter Accessibility Laws

Several federal laws protect the rights of Americans with disabilities to vote. These include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

Voters with disabilities have the right to:

  • Vote in private, without help

  • Have an accessible polling place with voting machines for voters with disabilities

Polling places must have:

  • Wheelchair-accessible voting booths

  • Entrances and doorways at least 32 inches wide

  • Handrails on all stairs

  • Voting equipment for people who are blind or visually impaired

If you have a disability, you may:

  • Seek help from poll workers trained to use the accessible voting machine, or

  • Bring someone to help you vote.

You can also ask local election officials what other options you have.

  • Some states offer “curbside voting," when a poll worker brings everything you need to vote to your car.

  • Some set up polling places at long-term care facilities.

  • Local organizations may provide transportation to the polls.

  • Many states let people with disabilities vote by mail.

Language Accessibility

The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) helps people overcome language barriers to voting.

Federal law also lets you bring someone to help you if you can't read or write.

Get Help and Learn More

Federal Campaign Finance Laws

The Federal Election Campaign Act requires candidates for federal office to disclose the source and amount of money they raise and spend. This includes individuals running for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, as well as those running for president.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) administers the act and other federal campaign finance laws. It enforces campaign contribution limits for individuals and groups, tracks campaign finance data, and oversees public funding used in presidential elections.

How Much Can You Contribute?

You, as an individual, can donate up to $2,800 to any candidate running for federal office during the 2019-2020 federal election cycle. 

Campaign Financing in Federal Elections

Check out the FEC’s campaign finance data to view candidates' funding data.  

Voter Fraud, Voter Suppression, and Other Election Crimes

Federal election laws help protect the election process. Get information about your voting rights, campaign donations limits, and how to report federal election crimes.

What Are Federal Election Crimes?

Federal election crimes fall into three broad categories:

Many states have strengthened their voter ID requirements in the past few years to try to curb voter fraud.

How Do I Report Voter Fraud or Voter Suppression?

If you suspect that voter fraud has occurred, report it to your state or territorial election office. You can also report it to:

If you witness or suspect voter intimidation or suppression, there are three ways you can report it:

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Last Updated: May 31, 2019