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Election 2020's Voter Suppression Reality 

Hundreds of people wait in line for early voting on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Marietta, Georgia. Eager voters have waited six hours or more in the former Republican stronghold of Cobb County, and lines have wrapped around buildings in solidly Democratic DeKalb County. (Ron Harris/AP Photo)
Hundreds of people wait in line for early voting on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Marietta, Georgia. Eager voters have waited six hours or more in the former Republican stronghold of Cobb County, and lines have wrapped around buildings in solidly Democratic DeKalb County. (Ron Harris/AP Photo)

Voting is one of the most essential rights of any democratic citizen. We take a look at the various forms of voter suppression we see across the country, and discuss how it’s affecting American democracy ahead of the November presidential election.


Theodore Johnson, senior fellow and director of the fellows program at the Brennan Center for Justice. Retired U.S. Navy commander, following a two-decade career that included service as a White House fellow, military professor at the U.S. Naval War College, and speechwriter to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (@DrTedJ)

Joshua Douglas, election law and voting rights professor at the University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law. Author of “Vote for US.” (@JoshuaADouglas)

Harmeet Dhillon, GOP committeewoman from California. Founder of the Dhillon Law Group and the Center for American Liberty. (@pnjaban)

From The Reading List

The New Republic: Inside the Republican Plot for Permanent Minority Rule” — “Here’s one all-too-plausible way that Election Night 2020 might play out. It’s just after 11 p.m., when Fox News cuts live to President Trump’s reelection party. Millions of mail-in ballots remain to be counted in the swing states of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but Trump claims victory based on the early tabulations from in-person voting.”

CNN: Courts are supposed to protect the right to vote. Why aren’t they?” — “A disturbing number of courts are refusing to protect the right to vote. Although some federal district courts have eased certain election laws to make it easier to vote during the pandemic, the Supreme Court and federal appellate courts have mostly reversed these rulings. The appellate courts are instead unduly deferring to state legislatures and election officials.”

New York Times: The Attack on Voting in the 2020 Election” — “On an October morning four years ago, eight young staff members at the Indiana Voter Registration Project in Indianapolis were planning their final steps before a closely contested presidential election. In recent weeks they had registered 45,000 new voters, most of whom were Black and Latino, and they were on track to enlist 10,000 more before Election Day.”

The Economist: The spreading scourge of voter suppression” — “A president in hospital, virus in the White House, a fight over the Supreme Court, leaked presidential tax returns: it is enough to make you reel. Amid the tumult of the campaign, it is easy to miss a less frenzied turn of events that has no less profound implications for America’s democracy. It concerns suppressing the vote. ‘Elections belong to the people,’ said the Republican Party’s greatest president. What, then, would Abraham Lincoln make of his partymen’s efforts—in Florida, North and South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin and other contested states—to limit the number of people the coming election belongs to?”

New York Times: ‘I Refuse Not to Be Heard’: Georgia in Uproar Over Voting Meltdown” — “Georgia’s statewide primary elections on Tuesday were overwhelmed by a full-scale meltdown of new voting systems put in place after widespread claims of voter suppression during the state’s 2018 governor’s election. Scores of new state-ordered voting machines were reported to be missing or malfunctioning, and hourslong lines materialized at polling places across Georgia.”

The Intercept: Texas Voter Suppression Tactics Recall The Jim Crow Era” — “Pam Johnson Gaskin learned early last week that the election administrator in Fort Bend County, Texas, had decided to add four locations where voters can hand-deliver their absentee ballots, several of which were going to be outside to minimize voters’ chances of being exposed to the coronavirus. ‘I was like, Oh thank you, Jesus. Protesting does work!’ said Gaskin, who lives in the eastern part of the county and had spent the previous several days advocating for the additional drop-off sites.”

The Guardian: Ohio’s quarter-mile early-voting lines? That’s what voter suppression looks like” — “In-person early voting started in Ohio this week, and in the state’s largest cities, it was a total mess. In Columbus, the line stretched for a quarter of a mile. In Cuyahoga county, the hours-long wait began before polls even opened.”

Politico: November is coming. Are Democrats losing the battle over voter suppression?” — “Democrats are running out of time to protect the voters they need the most. As Election Day nears, Democrats are scrambling to counter disinformation campaigns, complicated absentee ballot requirements and consolidated polling locations. All of which they say threaten the groups Joe Biden can’t win without in November: Black and Latino voters.”

New York Times: California Republican Party Admits It Placed Misleading Ballot Boxes Around State” — “The California Republican Party has admitted responsibility for placing more than 50 deceptively labeled ‘official’ drop boxes for mail-in ballots in Los Angeles, Fresno and Orange Counties — an action that state officials said was illegal and could lead to election fraud.”

Vox: What voter suppression looks like online” — “According to a report by CNN, the federal government has warned that Russia ‘might seek to covertly discourage or suppress US voters from participating’ in the upcoming election. If so, it would be a repeat of their tactics four years ago, when Russian operatives posing as Americans on social media discouraged Black Americans from voting or encouraged them to vote for the third-party candidate, Jill Stein.”

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