Voter Suppression in the U.S.
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.