Voter Suppression in This Past Election
November 14, 2018
The midterm elections have been anticipated for months, and the excitement surrounding voting and volunteering is at a high. However, in states like Georgia and North Dakota, voters are finding it difficult to be able to vote. In some instances, these voters were informed that their voter registration was denied.
An example of clear voter suppression is the current issue regarding Native American voters in the state of North Dakota. According to Slate, the Republican party passed a law that requires voters in North Dakota to provide a valid street address to vote. Thus, Native Americans that live in areas without a street address, having only a P.O. box to identify themselves with, are unable to vote. This will significantly affect the voter demographic in North Dakota, a state which is historically Republican but where Native Americans lean liberal in the voting booths.
This ruling was considered discriminatory against the Native Americans that live in North Dakota, who have no legal state address or a way to obtain one. Native Americans are often given land on reservations, an area without clear streets, and therefore no street address. Many of these Native Americans will most likely not be able to vote in the upcoming midterm election. The number of Native Americans unable to vote will be close to 5,000.
Similarly, another voter suppression situation occurred in the state of Georgia. Brian Kemp holds the position of Georgia’s Secretary of State while also running for governor. His Secretary of State position puts him at the forefront of the Georgia midterm elections. According to PBS, the Associated Press revealed that Kemp’s office had not approved 53,000 registrations. Most of these would-be voters are either African American or Latino, people that are more likely to vote Democrat, or against Kemp, in the midterms.
Kemp was sued by several different civil liberties organizations, but he claims that there is a constitutional reasoning behind the denied registrations. Each registration must match exactly to a citizen’s government ID, and if one thing is incorrect, the registration status will be “pending,” and the citizen will be allowed to fix it. The problem with this is that many people were not informed that their status was pending, or even given the opportunity correct their mistakes.
These are just two examples of some of the most large-scale voter suppression occurring all over the United States. It is imperative to the functionality of our democracy that those who registered to vote are aware of their status, and that the government of each respective state and city use transparency with the rules of registering to vote. On Nov 6, the country will be watching. It is up to the United States government to make sure that this the midterms are fair election, and that each voter is treated like their voice matters.