Voter Suppression in the US

ATLANTA%2C+GA+-+OCTOBER+18%3A+Georgia+voter+stickers+lay+on+a+table+while+people+cast+ballots+at+C.T.+Martin+Natatorium+and+Recreation+Center+on+October+18%2C+2018+in+Atlanta%2C+Georgia.++Early+voting+started+in+Georgia+on+October+15th.++Georgia%27s+Gubernatorial+election+is+a+close+race+between+Democratic+candidate+Stacey+Abrams+and+Republican+candidate+Brian+Kemp.++%28Photo+by+Jessica+McGowan%2FGetty+Images%29
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Voter Suppression in the US

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 18: Georgia voter stickers lay on a table while people cast ballots at C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center on October 18, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Early voting started in Georgia on October 15th.  Georgia's Gubernatorial election is a close race between Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams and Republican candidate Brian Kemp.  (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 18: Georgia voter stickers lay on a table while people cast ballots at C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center on October 18, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Early voting started in Georgia on October 15th. Georgia's Gubernatorial election is a close race between Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams and Republican candidate Brian Kemp. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Jessica McGowan

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 18: Georgia voter stickers lay on a table while people cast ballots at C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center on October 18, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Early voting started in Georgia on October 15th. Georgia's Gubernatorial election is a close race between Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams and Republican candidate Brian Kemp. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Jessica McGowan

Jessica McGowan

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 18: Georgia voter stickers lay on a table while people cast ballots at C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center on October 18, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Early voting started in Georgia on October 15th. Georgia's Gubernatorial election is a close race between Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams and Republican candidate Brian Kemp. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Coby Washo, Staff Writer

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Midterm elections just passed, and you know what that means: voter suppression. So far this election cycle, there have been numerous accounts of voter suppression, with the most recent coming out of Dodge City, Kansas. Dodge City has a population of about 27,000, and as a result of immigration, is 60% Hispanic. However, the city only has one polling place, located at a country club in the wealthy, white part of town. As a result, only 17% of eligible Hispanics vote in non-presidential elections compared to 61% of eligible whites. The ACLU and local voters have long criticized the fact that there is only one polling place serving the entire city, but to make matters worse, the polling place is now being moved outside of the city this election cycle. The new facility is also one mile away from the nearest public transit stop, making an already difficult situation even worse.

Other instances of voter suppression include an attempt by Indiana election officials to purge thousands of voters (this move was blocked by a federal judge), and a new law in Ohio that kicks people off of its voting rolls if the voter skips a few elections and fails to respond to a notice from state officials (this was upheld by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling). Perhaps the state that has been garnering the most attention in the media however, is Georgia. Georgia has had a highly contested gubernatorial election this cycle, and because the Republican nominee, Brian Kemp, is also the Secretary of State of Georgia (the Secretary of State runs the election process), numerous accusations of voter suppression and lawsuits have arisen.

The first case of possible voter suppression that has received the most attention in the media comes from a report by the Associated Press, which reported that nearly 70% percent of the 53,000 registrations that are on hold in Kemp’s office are from African-Americans, despite the fact that African-Americans make up only 32% of the state’s population. A report by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University also found that 1.5 million voters were removed from the rolls between 2012-2016, which is twice the number from the previous four years. This suggests, but does not prove, that legitimate voters are being purged along with voters who have moved or died. One last case of possible voter suppression is the fact that in Gwinnett County, which is becoming increasingly diverse and liberal, 8.5% of absentee ballots are rejected, compared to just 2% statewide.

Despite these hurdles, 2018 is still an exceptional year for motivation to vote. Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who runs a turnout database, predicts that 40 to 50% of eligible voters will vote, which would be a 50 year record high. Along with this, on the first day of early voting in Georgia, 69,049 showed up to cast a ballot, compared to just 20,898 last year.

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Coby Washo, Staff Writer

Coby Washo is a boring hipster who exclusively wears vans, listens to bad music, and is a senior at Northgate High School. He has previously been involved...

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