Every four years, the country is alight with political fervor as we vote for our president, the most powerful position in the world. However, many fail to recognize the importance of voting in midterm elections when governors, Senate members, House of Representative members, and state legislatures are chosen. Perhaps this is why many government officials and politicians believe that this is a perfect time to use voter suppression measures to serve their partisan goals of achieving power for one party.
During the 2018 midterm elections, there have been documented cases in which these measures were employed in the states. These include voter purges, strict voter ID and ballot requirements, voter confusion, voter intimidation and harassment, poll closures and long lines, malfunctioning voting equipment, disenfranchisement of justice-involved individuals, and gerrymandering. Even before voting started, millions of eligible Americans were prohibited from participating in the 2018 midterm elections.
According to the Brennan Center, 23 states have made their voting laws more restrictive since 2010, including six of the 10 states with the highest proportions of black voters. And that count doesn’t include North Carolina, the state with the seventh-highest population of black voters, where a battle involving voter ID, gerrymandering, and racial discrimination has dominated politics over the past decade.
There is no question that the process for providing voting opportunities to all American citizens has to be reformed. Solutions such as automatic voter registration and same-day registration is shown to be effective and should be applied to the US voting system. A significant investment in the electoral system is also a must. By properly training and equipping poll workers with verified voting machines, the instances of fraud will severely diminish. Although there is not a neat panacea for all electoral problems, there are obvious steps to take to ensure that every citizen be able to cast their vote in a seamless manner.