America's Ballot Battles

Episodes

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2014102720141102 (R4)

Rajini Vaidyanathan travels to North Carolina to investigate whether current bitter disputes over voting rights mean that the United States is involved in a crisis of democracy.

Over the last two decades the controversy over voting rights has become increasingly bitter and polarised along party lines. This process has intensified since 2013 when the US Supreme Court overturned important parts of the Voting Rights Act. North Carolina is one key location for these crucially important arguments. It has seen one of the furthest-reaching packages of voting reform of any state and is now in the midst of one of the closest election campaigns this year.

Rajini travels across the state and hears from those who argue that a concerted campaign is under way to deprive liberal-leaning groups of access to the electoral process. And she speaks to those responsible for the legislation who insist that they are trying to stop voter fraud and ensure the sanctity of the ballot.

Rajini looks at a number of states where political control has alternated over the last 20 years, and voting law with it, as Democrats pass laws which make it easier to vote - typically benefiting groups which vote for them - and Republicans often do the opposite. She asks what this is doing to American democracy.

Producer: Giles Edwards.