No Sandwich or Car: How US States Restrict Minority Voting Access

Washington | From the obligation to have an address to register on electoral rolls to banning car voting, conservative US states have adopted many rules that, in the name of fighting fraud, limit ‘minority access to the polls’. .

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In the United States, the regulation of suffrage is within the jurisdiction of the states, and has always been the subject of exploitation.

Granting the suffrage to African Americans in 1870 followed in the racial South by imposing new barriers, particularly with literacy tests or electoral taxes.

After vigorous civil rights mobilization, Congress in 1965 adopted the “Voting Rights Act” prohibiting discriminatory electoral procedures.

But Republican-controlled states continued, with highly technical measures and under the guise of anti-fraud, to restrict the access of minorities to the polls, especially black minorities, who vote primarily for Democrats.

Since January, the process has accelerated: 17 states have passed 28 restrictive electoral laws, and dozens more are under review, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

They act on several levels:

electoral lists

More than 76.5% of white adults registered on electoral rolls, compared to 69% of African Americans, less than 64% of people of Asian descent and 61% of Hispanics, according to the Census Bureau.

Some of the prerequisites for registration may seem trivial, but they affect minorities more. A law in North Dakota, which was recently abandoned, required a physical address and not a PO Box, which excluded many Native Americans who did not have official streets in the reserves.

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Florida recently imposed restrictions on organizations that help citizens register, with fines for late reporting forms.

Other countries, such as Georgia, have just abandoned automatic registration in the electoral roll. Montana wants to stop voter registration on Election Day.

Postal and Advance Voting

Often from the lower classes, minorities may find it difficult to leave their jobs on Tuesday – Election Day – to go and vote in person. They also have fewer cars to travel to polling stations and are more likely to hold two jobs, thus reducing the time periods to vote in person.

The more open postal or advance voting, as was the case in 2020 due to the pandemic, the higher their participation rate.

However, a law in Georgia halved the period during which postal ballots can be claimed. Arizona penalized for the fact that a voter was deposited in his place ballot, except for close relationships. Mississippi Require Notary Signatures on Advance Ballots…

Reaching the polling stations

There are more than 10,000 clearances in the United States, but in rural areas they can be very far from homes. However, Texas just banned car voting – when driving – but it’s popular in the great outdoors.

According to the Brennan Center, there are fewer offices and therefore more waiting in black and Hispanic neighborhoods, which can discourage voters. A contested law in Georgia now plans to ban associations from bringing food or drink to citizens to help them be patient.

According to the ABA Lawyers, 5% of white voters do not know where the polling station is, compared to 15% of African Americans and 14% of Hispanics. However, Arizona prohibits voting in any electoral district other than the one in which the voter is registered.

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In the upcoming elections, polling stations in Iowa will close at 8:00 p.m., not 9:00 p.m.

identity documents

Some states require you to have an official photo ID to vote, although in the United States no photo ID is required. In 2020, 25% of African Americans of voting age did not have this type of document, compared to 8% of white Americans, according to the Brennan Center.

Administrative procedures to correct an error in a document also further disability for black persons. According to the ABA, a Georgia law requiring an “accurate association” between a name on a voter roll and a name on an identification document presented at a polling station affected 51,000 voters in 2018, 80% of whom were black.

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