Columns, Opinion

American Protest: Voting is made difficult in America by Republicans

If these midterm elections have proven anything to me, it is that voting in the United States is not as easy and democratic as one would presume they are in a country built on freedom to elect representative officials.

During the entire midterms process, I have heard countless stories of many people (mostly minority groups) being turned away at the polls or having their main polling center moved further from them through laws made by Republicans.

My own voting experience seemed much more difficult than it should have been in this day and age because I had to apply for an absentee ballot for the state of New Jersey. In order to do this, I had to submit an application online, receive the application in the mail, fill it out and send it back through the postal service. I then waited for my actual ballot to come in the mail, filled that out and sent it back via the postal service.

In total, it took about three weeks to get done, and I believe complicated and long processes such as these are reasons votership is so low in our country, especially among younger voters. Another problem I have witnessed during these elections are laws denying people their right to vote.

A USA Today analysis of voter polls found that as it came closer and closer to the midterm elections, more polls were closed in urban areas with high minority voters. On average, seven polling places were closed in largely minority urban counties between 2012 and 2016. But in counties where 90 percent or more of the population is white, only two polling locations were lost.

Why there are cuts being made to polling places and employees at all is beyond me, but the fact that it is being done in areas where the vote would swing blue is a clear attempt to sway the outcome of this election.

In Georgia, the new “exact-match” law passed by the Republican-led legislature has held up the processing of over 53,000 voter registrations, according to The New York Times. Many of these eligible voters are African Americans. The law requires that personal information on a voter registration form matches the information on the government database exactly, potentially disenfranchising thousands of voters.

It is restrictions and laws such as these that make voting difficult and result in lower turnout, especially among minorities and younger people. America should be making votership as easy as possible to encourage higher turnout. That is what freedom and democracy is based on.

The government will never be a true representation of what the people want if half the people are not able to cast their vote and rich, white people have the best access to the polls.

The Washington Post found that in states with stricter ID laws when it comes to voting, the African American, Hispanic, Asian American, and multicultural American turnout is much lower than states without strict ID laws, and white turnout is largely unaffected.

The people making these laws are well aware of the demographics they are affecting and how this will turn the outcome of the elections in their favor, because the people making these laws are Republican.

They claim these laws and restrictions are being made to ensure against voter fraud, but then why are they only affecting minority groups, while white people are largely unaffected and continue to have more access to the polls?

It is clear what the GOP is trying to do in order to continue holding control of America’s government and democracy, and we must double our efforts at the polls in order to nullify their attempts at lowering the Democrats’ chances of winning.

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