With the upcoming 2020 elections soon to come, one of the biggest issues for African Americans when it comes to voting is voter suppression. Since the first African American vote was cast by Thomas Mundy Peterson on March 31st, 1870, there have been Americans trying to stop Black Americans from voting. Voter suppression for years has been a way to keep black vote totals low, and still in 2020 the tactics continue. To make sure we keep our readers aware, we’ve listed five voter suppression tactics to watch out for before the 2020 elections.
1. Making polling places less accessible to people
In the 2016 election many of our voters had issues with polls access. This issues to steamed to those who had disabilities. Many voters who have disabilities may have to vote private or independent, need certain audible functions, and wheelchair accommodations. The functions weren’t accessible to them in the last election, and it’s becoming a growing concern under the Help American Vote Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Organizations such as AARP, are working together in our community to make absentee balloting, mail voting and online services easier alternatives for those with disabilities and elders. Still with their help, our justice system is still failing on holding counties accountable for their actions on the access to polling places.
2. Implementing voter ID requirements.
Right now, we have 7 states that have strict photo ID laws. Those states are Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. In addition, we have 34 states that have Id guidelines at their polls. These photo ID laws are hindering the voting process and participation. With millions of Americans without a government issued ID, that leads thousands of votes lost in each election. Many of the millions who don’t have ID are those who are in our black and brown communities.
The requirements that take place to even be issued an ID is very race and income-based related, making it harder for those who live in impoverished communities to afford an ID. As stated earlier, for those who have a disability it makes it hard for them to commute when not only voting polls, but the nearest ID offices is more than 50 miles from their residence.
Since 1812, the term and act of Gerrymandering has been a “Slick” rule as its namesake. Each election the government “surprisingly” redistricts each state or county to benefit their political party. The constant changes to each state district affect minority voters and will continue with the new decisions from the supreme court. The supreme court has issued a new decision that the federal government could not impede partisan gerrymandering on the state level. This has many American outraged because it’s affecting the 2020 census.
4. Impeding voter registration
During Georgia’s Gubernatorial race Abrams vs. Kemp, many Georgians were disenfranchised and couldn’t even cast a ballot to vote because they weren’t registered. In the most recent elections this has been considered an ongoing thing with our black and brown communities. It was reported that many Latinos votes had been purged and they are being tormented at registration offices. In 2017, Alabama State Representative John Merrill impeded many voter registrations for Latinos and convicted felons because he “personally” felt they wouldn’t care too much about voting. Pay attention to your local voter registration laws. If you are not registered, find the dates and get registered as soon as possible.
5. Felon disenfranchisement
In many states, once you are a felon, you lose your right to vote and getting it back is very difficult. Politicians know this and most certainly use it to their advantage. With many states making progressive strides on expanding laws for former convicted felons to vote, many states still are living them in the dark on this information. Since, most prisons are filled with black and brown Americans, we are the citizens who are the most adversely affected.
Bonus: Mail-In Ballots
Trump has not set his targets on the post office due to the large amount of forecasted mail-in ballots. His reasoning is so called voter fraud. COVID-19 has pushed mail in ballots to the front of this election season, so if you plan on sending in a mail-in ballot, do it as soon as possible. Many cities have already alerted their residents to turn in their mail-in ballots as early as they can if they want to ensure their vote be counted.