Photo of Uruj Sheikh

Uruj Sheikh

  • Hosted by NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
  • Sponsored by Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school City University of New York School of Law
  • Issue area Racial Justice, Voting Rights/Electoral Participation
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Uruj (she/her/hers) will use model litigation and advocacy to challenge the coordinated assault on the right to vote by discriminatory voting laws in the Deep South.

In 2021, state legislatures met the historic turnout of Black voters and voters of color in 2020 with a backlash of voter suppression laws aimed at diminishing the political power of voters of color. Nineteen states enacted 33 restrictive voting laws in 2021 alone; forty-nine states cumulatively proposed over 425 bills to restrict voting access. From imposing harsher voter ID requirements on absentee ballots in Georgia to restricting mail-in voting in Florida or banning 24-hour voting in Texas, these sudden and extreme changes to voting laws have the intent and effect of making voting more burdensome for low-income voters of color. Characterized as Jim Crow 2.0, these laws deepen historical inequities in voting access, abridge or deny voters of color a meaningful opportunity to participate in the political process, and throw off the guardrails necessary to maintain our democracy.

Fellowship Plans

This project supports the leadership of impacted communities safeguarding against Jim Crow 2.0 policies and ensuring equal access to the vote. Building on the momentum of the 2022 midterm election, Uruj will apply a multi-part strategy to ensure that every eligible voter, especially Black voters, can freely exercise their fundamental right to vote by starting in two priority jurisdictions in the deep south. The strategy uses strategic, targeted litigation to enforce voting rights protections under federal and state constitutional and statutory protections; rapid response advocacy at polling stations by monitoring for suppression and identifying organizing and legal interventions; and advocating for expansive legislation and against restrictive voting bills in partnership with grassroots coalitions.

Media

Two New Grads Named Equal Justice Works Fellows

Communities of color are more likely to be denied access to the right to vote and that’s a precedent that goes against our notion of fairness and justice. We need to challenge these immediate threats to democracy while also building long-term sustainable solutions to ensure every person can vote regardless of our race.

Uruj Sheikh /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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