voter suppression; racism; health disparities


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Other Public Health | Race and Ethnicity


Civic participation is beneficial to one’s health. Conversely, being unable to participate, such as being unable to vote, may be detrimental for health. Barriers that prevent voting and civic participation, which constitute voter suppression, disproportionately impact people of color. Therefore, voter suppression may explain intractable racial health disparities. However, few studies have examined the connection between voter suppression and health. In consideration of the frequent, and increasing, reports of voter suppression in recent elections, including the rise in voter identification laws, the reduction in early voting opportunities, and the closing of polling places, the field of public health should address voter suppression as a significant determinant of health inequities. This paper suggests a framework for how voter suppression may operate to negatively impact health and well-being, especially for people of color. Lastly, directions for future research are recommended to begin to disentangle the complex relationship between civic participation and health.