With less than 19 days until Election Day, early voting has already started in some states across the country.
The pandemic has disrupted almost every aspect of ‘normal’ life, it’s the effect on this year’s election is no different. Because of social distancing and other guidelines to ensure public safety, the fashion in which American elections are usually conducted has been changed.
The coronavirus has created a greater need for absentee voting and mail-in ballots for voters concerned about their safety during this election. Some states will conduct this election with strictly absentee ballots, while others are opposed.
There has been a lot of pushback between Republicans and Democrats regarding the policies and procedures for this election.
Republicans along with the Trump Campaign, believe that absentee ballots will open a greater risk for voter fraud, which will also threaten Trump’s reelection bid. While Democrats have complete support in our voting and mail system.This pandemic has not only shined a light on the racism in our justice system but it’s also put a spotlight on the small, but significant acts of voter suppression that are geared towards the disenfranchisement of minorities.
Less than 200 years since the ratification of the 15th Amendment, voting rights activists are strategizing against tactics of “voter suppression” across some U.S states.
Texas, Georgia, and Arizona have been at the forefront.
Democrats in all three states have complained for years of efforts by Republican leaders to restrict voting access by creating strict voter ID laws, purging voters off the rolls, passing “exact match” voting laws, closing polling places and allowing long wait times at predominately Black precincts..
These tactics disproportionately target Black and Latino voters who tend to vote Democratic and who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed nearly 215,000 Americans, experts and voting rights advocates say.
On Sept. 24, Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation which sought to limit drop off locations for mail-in ballots to one per county. This is one of many election security measures proposed by Republicans, an attempt to limit “voter fraud”.
Gilberto Hinojosa chairman of the Texas Democratic Party said in a statement:
Republicans are on the verge of losing, so Gov. Abbott is trying to adjust the rules last minute..
A federal judge initially blocked Abbot’s proclamation, saying it
placed a burden on the voting rights of elderly and disabled Texans who are most likely to vote with mail-in ballots.
On Monday, the Texas Court of Appeals upheld Gov. Abbot’s order, forcing drop-off sites to be closed. This will affect important Democratic countries with large populations.
Thousands took to social media on Monday, to give their early voting experience in the state of Georgia. Some voters stood in line to vote for more than 11 hours. Election officials reported a technical glitch which caused the delay at one specific location.
This is not the first time, Georgia has dealt with issues at polling sites.
During June’s primary, there were similar issues with long lines in black and brown communities, in addition to complaints of poll workers being inexperienced with voting equipment.
On the last day to register, a cable was “accidentally” cut, which led the state’s website to shut down, prohibiting citizens from registering to vote. Due to the “accident”, the deadline has been extended 48 hours by a Virginia judge.
Just yesterday, during Supreme Court confirmation hearings for nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Ted Cruz discussed the voting right for “felons.” He referenced Bernie Sanders’ stance, that felons in jail and out of jail should have the basic right to vote.
Ted Cruz said:
Senator Sanders from Vermont, in the course of the Democratic presidential primaries argued not just that not just felons out of jail, he argued that felons in jail, literally Charles Manson, serving multiple life sentences for murder, should be able to vote.
Although the 15th Amendment prohibits citizens from being denied the right to vote because of race, there are still measures in place that limit everyone’s right to vote. Voting rights for felonies, changes by state. Typically felonies, have to apply for “rights restoration” to have their right to vote restored. In three states, Florida, Kentucky, and Iowa, felonies permanently lose the right the vote and must petition the court.
Voting is not a privilege.
It’s a basic right.
Exercise your right to vote.
Be apart of the solution.