Voter Suppression Update 10/26

election integrity
Photo credit: WhoWhatWhy

On Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) acknowledged that voter suppression efforts by Republicans are significant enough to swing key Senate races in Arizona and North Dakota.

In Arizona, where Democrat Kyrsten Sinema is virtually tied with Republican Martha McSally, outdated voter databases which do not automatically update new home addresses could mean up to 300,000 Arizonans will be unable to vote on Election Day, according to the ACLU’s Dale Ho.

In North Dakota, a new and strict voter ID law requires a home address to vote. However, over five percent of the state’s population is Native American, and Native Americans living on reservations typically do not have traditional home addresses. Because the state’s population is only 800,000, every vote is crucial.

Students at Texas State were surprised to learn that the polling station on campus closed after only three days, when normally polling locations are open for two weeks during early voting periods.

Students have contacted election officials to re-open the polling location. When Democratic official Debbie Ingalsbe contacted Republican official Wally Kinney to ask about the Texas State polling location, Kinney responded, “If Debbie is bringing it forward, it probably means that it is going to favor Democrats, so maybe I should not be in favor of this.”

Dodge City, Kansas, which is 60 percent Latino, was recently told that its one polling location would be moved beyond city limits — over a mile away from the nearest bus stop.

Further complicating matters, newly registered voters in Dodge City were mailed a document directing them to the former polling location.

Dodge City is home to 27,000 residents, most of them Latino, and as many as 13,000 voters are expected to vote at this one polling location. The average polling location in Kansas sees about 1,200 voters.  

The Republican nominee for Kansas Governor, Kris Kobach, has been a vocal proponent of strict voter ID laws, even heading President Donald Trump’s short-lived Voter Fraud Commission.

Finally, some good news. While many states are making it harder to vote, some states are trying to increase voter turnout.

Michigan has a ballot referendum, known as Prop 3 or “Promote the Vote,” which would introduce many reforms to increase voter participation, including automatic voter registration for people getting driver’s licenses, allowing for same day voter registration, easing restrictions on military personnel to vote, introducing no-excuse absentee voting, and allowing for straight-party ticket voting, where a voter can select one box and all of those party’s officials down-ballot are selected.  

The referendum is expected to pass.

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