Lessons learned from midterm elections

Ani-ya Beasley, Editor

This November marked the month of the midterm elections. Most of the United States stayed glued to their screens as polling places came to a close. With Democrats winning back the House of Representatives, candidate and voter turnout records were set in many states. This midterm saw the most House pickups for Democrats since the election after Watergate in 1974.

Although there were good outcomes of the election, there were also issues that came to light – Voter Suppression specifically.

Voter suppression is a tactic used to affect the results of an election by preventing certain groups from voting. It goes all the way back to the Reconstruction era before the civil war, slaves were extended the right to vote and hold office. This did not sit well with most especially the South. From there a series of laws including poll taxes were imposed to keep African-Americans and other persons of color from voting.

During these current elections, the American people saw tactics being used to keep certain groups from voting. In North Carolina, voters reported that touch-screen voting machines changed their votes. There was also claims of voter intimidation by poll workers and a state representative.

Two of the biggest races this year, Florida and Georgia Governors race, also allegedly experienced voter suppression. In both States, polling places reported that supply cords for voting machines were not given to them. Florida had hundreds of absentee requests that were never brought to completion. In Georgia, Governor candidate, Brian Kemp purged thousands of early voters which resulted in there being a lawsuit that extended voting times in two precincts. Even in Arkansas, KNWA news reported that nearly 900 of votes in Benton County were not counted.

In the areas that reported voter suppression, were areas that were mainly people of color. For an example, predominantly black counties in Georgia, Florida, and Michigan had voting machines that were either broke or missing as a whole.

When people usually think of Voter suppression, the most radical Jurassic ideas come to mind but there are also small ways it happens. In Arkansas, citizens just voted for the Voter ID bill which deprives citizens of the right to vote. Countless Americans do not have the photo identification that is accepted at polling places. Low-income citizens, racial minorities, and people with disabilities are among the millions, who do not have this identification, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Not having same-day registration could also be considered suppression because it is keeping citizens from their constituted right to vote.

As of now, there is no change to laws that are suppressing the American voters. House majority Democrats, plan to reform voting by prioritizing voting rights when Congress convenes in January.

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