Voter Suppression: How these widespread tactics affect those who are eligible to vote.

Photo credit to Unspalsh.com

Every day, people tell others to go out and vote this November, but what about those who can’t?

Many people think that those who say they can’t vote are making excuses, but the reality is that the country is suppressing many people from being able to vote.

Voter suppression is a big problem and it comes in many forms. It is important for people to know what voter suppression is in order to do something against it.

In order for someone to vote, they must register first. Unfortunately, voter suppression starts at registration.

In many cases, people who tried to register to vote were asked for proof of citizenship. The documents required include a birth certificate or passport, which is something many people don’t just casually carry around. This is also a problem which largely affects immigrants who want to vote.

Necessary documents aren’t the only form of suppression through registration, as deadlines are also an issue. Some states require people to register before the election even becomes an important issue.

Whenever deadlines like these are set, voters are discouraged and many have a hard time meeting the deadline, therefore losing their ability to vote in the election.

Voter purging is also an issue.

One of the best examples of this was New York City’s voter purge in 2016, where 200,000 voters were left without the ability to vote.

One of the many forms voter suppression presents itself is through strict ID laws.

When an individual goes out to vote, they must present their ID in order to do so. Although most people do have an ID, for some it’s difficult to access.

The price of an ID may be out of some people’s budget or the location for someone to get an ID may be inconvenient. This being said, people who are low income, have a disability or are elderly are affected by this.

These strict voter laws end up affecting voter turnout by 2–3 percent, which may not seem like much, but we must remember that every vote counts.

In a short interview, NPR’s Michel Martin asks president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Kristen Clark about voter suppression tactics.

In that interview, she talks about how these voter suppression tactics mostly impact minorities. She talks about the history of minorities being suppressed and which minorities have been the most impacted.

Felon disenfranchisement is another form of voter suppression.

There’s a common misconception that once someone is a felon, they lose their right to vote. The reality is that it varies by state.

In some states, felons are banned from voting for life, while in other states, they’re banned from voting while they remain on parole or probation. On the National Conference of State Legislation website, anyone can see each state’s felon voting rights.

In the case of felon disenfranchisement, black people are disproportionately charged with felonies than white people, highlighting the issue of suppresion against minority groups.

In states such as Florida, felons must pay all of their institution and legal fees in order to regain their ability to vote. Luckily there are many foundations, such as the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, who are helping felons gain the funds necessary to pay back their legal and reinstitution fees.

Lastly, another form of suppression which has been seen lately is a lack of ballot drop-off locations.

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has limited Harris County, one of the largest counties in the country, to a single ballot drop-off location. The location is hard to reach for many, and many people think it is absurd that one of the largest counties in Texas will only have one drop-off location.

Luckily, a federal judge recently blocked the governor’s move to limiting drop-off sites.

When it comes to other things such as mail in ballots, people of color have a higher chance of having their ballot rejected than white people and most polling locations fail to accommodate people with disabilities.

As American citizens, it’s important to notice voter suppression in order to stand up against it and fight to make a change.

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University of Houston senior majoring in journalism with a minor in Spanish.

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Katia Castrejon

Katia Castrejon

University of Houston senior majoring in journalism with a minor in Spanish.

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