Voter Sup­pres­sion in the U.S.

The McGill Daily - - News - Phoebe Pan­nier The Mcgill Daily

Amer­i­can midterm elec­tions will be held Novem­ber 6; how­ever, states across the coun­try are pass­ing leg­is­la­tion to sup­press the vot­ing rights of peo­ple of colour. Carol An­der­son, chair of African-amer­i­can Stud­ies at Emory Univer­sity in At­lanta, GA., told the CBC that she be­lieves laws with the goal of sup­press­ing Black votes are be­ing drafted with “hor­rific ef­fi­ciency.”

Ge­or­gia has an “ex­act match” pol­icy, mean­ing that a voter reg­is­tra­tion form can be re­jected if it con­tains a sin­gle mis­spelling. On Oc­to­ber 24, only two weeks be­fore midterms, a judge ruled that vot­ers must be no­ti­fied of their sta­tus and given a chance to fix the er­ror. 70 per cent of vot­ers de­nied due to the ex­act match pol­icy have been Black. The ex­act match pol­icy is en­forced by chief elec­tion of­fi­cer Brian Kemp, who is run­ning for gov­er­nor against Demo­crat Stacey Abrams. If she wins, Abrams will be the first Black fe­male gov­er­nor in the en­tire coun­try. Kemp has been en­dorsed by Pres­i­dent Trump and has a largely white voter base.

Dodge City, Kansas, which is pre­dom­i­nantly His­panic, has closed its only polling place: res­i­dents will now have to travel fur­ther to ac­cess a polling lo­ca­tion. This will re­quire vot­ers to take more time off from work in or­der to vote, and will re­quire ac­cess to a ve­hi­cle; as, the near­est bus stop is a mile away from the new polling place. Dodge City is cur­rently be­ing sued by the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union for in­ten­tion­ally mis­lead­ing vot­ers about the lo­ca­tion change.

North Dakota has a new pol­icy in place which will tar­get In­dige­nous vot­ers. North Dakota was the only state in which vot­ers were not re­quired to reg­is­ter be­fore elec­tion day and pro­vide proof of res­i­dency in or­der to vote. Now, vot­ers must pro­vide a res­i­den­tial ad­dress, which proves dif­fi­cult for many In­dige­nous peo­ple, as the five reser­va­tions in North Dakota do not use the same ad­dress­ing sys­tem as the rest of the state. The pol­icy, put in place by a Repub­li­can-led Leg­is­la­ture, is be­ing in­tro­duced prior to the po­ten­tial re- elec­tion of Demo­crat Heidi Heitkamp, who nar­rowly won a Se­nate seat in 2012 due to sup­port from In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties.

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