As a result, new voting restrictions are in place in 16 states across America. The impact of that controversial ruling has already been felt. Recently, thousands stood in line for hours after the polls closed, patiently waiting to cast their primary ballots in Arizona, Utah and Idaho.
Some experts warn this is a sign of what’s to come in the general election and beyond: roadblocks to voting that disproportionately affect minorities and the most vulnerable American voters.
The anxiety around access and ease of casting a vote, a cornerstone issue of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, has grown palpably. And with this election season’s combustible atmosphere and unpredictable twists and turns, there are fears that holes are being poked in the historic 1965 affirmation of all Americans right to participate in the nation’s voting system.
Arizona’s Voting Outrage Is a Warning to the Nation
E.J. Dionne Jr. – The Washington Post
The facts of what happened in Arizona’s presidential primary are gradually penetrating the nation’s consciousness. In a move rationalized as an attempt to save money, officials of Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, cut the number of polling places by 70 percent, from 200 in the last presidential election to 60 this time around…
What did the cutbacks mean? As the Arizona Republic reported, the county’s move left one polling place for every 21,000 voters — compared with one polling place for every 2,500 voters in the rest of the state.Some Arizona voters waited in line for up to four hours to cast their ballots on March 22. Many took to social media to document their experiences in line, even after the winners were projected…
Now let’s look ahead to Election Day this fall. The Brennan Center reports that 16 states “will have new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election.”
Imagine voting debacles like Arizona’s happening all across the country. Consider what the news reports would be like on the night of Nov. 8, 2016. Are we not divided enough already? Can we risk holding an election whose outcome would be rendered illegitimate in the eyes of a very large number of Americans who might be robbed of their franchise?
The Editors – The Mankato Free Press
Arizona was one of the states that, under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, was required to get major changes in its elections pre-approved by the Justice Department. That provision was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013, freeing those states to do as they wish with voter access….
Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton noted that the county allocated one polling place per 108,000 residents and said Anglo communities had fewer residents per polling place. By implication, the squeeze was aimed at the county’s minority neighborhoods. It’s the kind of thing the Voting Rights Act was intended to prevent…
Latinos Disenfranchised in Arizona Primary Fiasco
Paul A. Reyes – NBC News
No wonder that Election Day in Maricopa County was chaotic. Many polling places lacked adequate parking. Some locations ran out of ballots, and there was ongoing confusion over the use of provisional ballots.
Worse, some predominantly low-income and Hispanic neighborhoods did not having a polling place at all. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton publicly said that Anglo neighborhoods received more polling locations than other communities; he has called for an investigation by the Department of Justice.
But in 2013, the Supreme Court gutted Section 5 of the VRA, removing the preclearance requirement for Arizona and 15 other states. States are now free to make changes to their elections without federal oversight…
In their defense, Maricopa County election officials pointed to the fact that voting this year was not “precinct specific.” Voters could cast their ballot anywhere in the county. But this system would only work if the county increased staffing at the 60 polling sites, to take into account many potential new voters. County officials did not…
Plenty of Blame to Go Around for Voting Waiting Lines
Michael P. McDonald – The Californian
In 2013, the Supreme Court effectively neutered this key provision of the Voting Rights Act in a 5-4 decision. Arizona and other states long stymied by the federal government have passed a slew of new voting restrictions since then. The repercussions are beginning to come to light.
In North Carolina and elsewhere, people have been blocked from voting because they cannot obtain the specific types of identification required by these new laws.
If we continue on this path, voting lines will get longer. November’s voter turnout will double from the primaries, and we could witness people casting ballots as the sun comes up the day after the election….
After Florida voters endured eight-hour lines in 2012, the state’s Republicans enacted a long list of changes to make voting easier.