2018 Mid-term elections were hard fought in many states. The fall elections gave way to some eye-opening experiences that people have talked about for years yet many didn’t understand until they saw it first hand. Voter suppression was a hot topic for the elections. It was brought to the forefront even more so with the record number of women running for seats both in Congress and for governor. This year alone over 500 women sought to find seats as a way to change the narrative of politics. In addition to the women, a high number of minorities ran even working to overturn history by taking seats that had always been owned by the same old regime the country has seen for decades.
With all of the divisiveness in America today due to racial conflict, religious conflict and gender conflict, it’s no wonder those who usually would not run for seats in the political arena decided to run. Like with any change though, opposition is always present. It was present so much so this year that what many thought was a myth of voter suppression because a reality that made us all go wow! One race, in particular, was that of Stacey Abrams vs Bran Kemp for governor in the state of Georgia. Kemp served as secretary of state which gave his office the ability to oversee the gubernatorial election that he ran in. He kept his job until the very end. Many were up in arms about a man being able to oversee the same election for a seat he wanted to win. It just seemed unfair and downright shady. Oddly, during the election process, a lot of strange things popped up making those who cried “voter suppression” seem to have a case that was worthy of looking at. Georgia has an exact match rule regarding names of voters which was used to exclude thousands of votes. Though we may agree that an exact match makes sense to ensure we are letting the right person vote, some of the information itself was not quite above board and the way it was carried out did not exactly match what was supposed to happen.
Another issue was how the precincts with heavy elderly and minority populations seemed to have fewer machines and in some cases machines that didn’t even work. It was reported that machines were even delivered without power cords forcing poll workers to people to go home and come back later to vote. Some of those votes took public transportation, carpooled and even waited in the rain. This was seen as a deterrent while in more affluent or suburban precincts lines were shorter because they had more machines available of voting. Those areas were typically more conservative as well which supported the agenda of Kemp. There were also reports that Democrats in Georgia were attempting to hack into databases days before the elections and reports claim that this was a smear tactic used to make them look as if they weren’t being honest.
Moving on, there were reports of various concerns from ID issues and more in states like Nevada, North Carolina, Arkansas, Maryland, and Michigan. In North Dakota, there were numerous claims that Native Americans were squeezed out of the voting process due to issues with their addresses that normally were benign in nature.
Since the elections, many have pushed for new laws to ease the concerns about voter suppression. We also have learned that voter suppression is real but it is we the people who must do something about it. We must voice our concerns if we feel this is really happening. We must continue to vote and not let the idea that something unfair is on the horizon stop us and make us give up. We must join together in opposition to unfair voting practices. We must also educate ourselves on not only the processes but the ever-changing laws that impact us and our ability to vote. Finally, we must not see a problem with another race or culture as a problem that does not impact us because if it starts with someone else it will spread like a contagion until we are all affected. Advocacy for equal voting rights for all matter.
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