The US has been a social experiment i
n democracy from the country’s founding. Starting from the passage of the 15th Amendment at the end of the Civil War, the long and complicated journey towards a more equitable democracy culminated in the Voting Rights Act, which guaranteed every citizen’s right to cast a ballot without discriminatory barriers. However, all this progress might be all for naught as the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013. Due to this ruling, voter suppression tactics are becoming rampant in recent years. Carol Anderson, the author of “One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy,” predicts 5 fronts of attack on the voting system.
Intimidation of minority voters
In Texas, secretary of state David Whitley fraudulently claimed in 2019 that 58,000 non-citizens (immigrants) voted in previous elections. This was in fact false and those that he listed were in fact American citizens who were just immigrants. This sends a message to other minority voters from an immigrant background that they will be under intense scrutiny by the state.
Curbing Voter Registration
In Tennessee, the Republican legislature wanted to prosecute those organizing voter registration drives claiming that registrations forms from these drives were incomplete and therefore fraudulent. This may severely scare those who want to bring more citizens into the voting process.
In Florida, felons are not allowed to cast a vote until all “court fines, fees, and penalties accrued during the trial and incarceration” were paid off. This affects nearly 20% of the African American population who have a felony conviction and have a propensity to vote Democrat.
Election Security Issues
Electronic voting machines that are used today are easily hackable and have virtually no paper trail, making the results that come out of these machines unverifiable This is very worrying as many experts are warning that these voting machines cannot be trusted.
This is one of the most worrying aspects of voter suppression. As Senate Republicans pack the courts with biased judges that have a history of only favoring Republicans, our legislative system is becoming biased. The only recourse is for Democrats to win more seats in the Senate to have a more balanced selection of judges.
As much as this country has improved to empower all American citizens to express their political voice, the foundations are shaky and the progress of the last 150 years can be made useless by the attempts of Republicans to gain more power through nefarious ways. American citizens need to be more aware of these tactics and be more politically active so that we can all prevent these measures from manifesting in our democracy.