By Cleo Wagner
Voter suppression is not something new to this country. Discrimination at the polling place wasn’t even made illegal until 1965. (1) And guess what, it is still happening to this day.
New voter laws that are aimed at stopping minority groups from voting are something that every single American should be horrified of. Let’s look at Union City, Georgia as an example. Here, voters waited five hours or more to vote in the June 2020 primary election- some of them didn’t even make it to the voting booth before the polls closed. This is a community where 88% of the residents are black. (2) To make matters worse, one of Georgia’s new voting laws makes sure that voters waiting in these lines cannot legally be given any water or food.
If you had to sit in line for seven hours with no food or water on a hot, humid day, how likely is it that you would just give up and go home? Especially if you had kids, a job or just about any responsibility that demands your time.
It is easy to see that these laws are designed on purpose to discourage voting and have an unfair influence over election results.
Is it a coincidence that these practices happen mainly in non-white neighborhoods? We don’t think so.
Unfair elections happen because Government Officials are aware of which communities lean one way or another on the political spectrum. For example, minority populations tend to lean more towards the left. Officials notice this and can then use their influence to pick and choose where to place polling locations in order to get more votes from areas that support their specific political agendas. (3) While this is entirely unfair and wrong, it is still something that happens in every single election. Why are we not holding these people accountable and demanding fairness from the people we call our leaders?
The only way these practices will change is if we are putting the right people in office. We didn’t choose these people who are in there now, but from now on we have a say in who we want to see standing up for us. Fair elections are a right we all deserve no matter our political, ethnic or social backgrounds.