With early voting underway in several states, voters have been fighting against a growing list of alleged voter suppression efforts by Republicans. In one of the latest examples, Democratic voters on Monday in an Arkansas county were not able to cast ballots for the party’s secretary of state nominee.
Republicans—fearful of the impending Democratic blue wave—were desperately using every trick in the book to retain control of Congress and state governments. Suppression efforts targeting Black voters have already been seen in Georgia, where Stacey Abrams could make history as the first African-American woman governor. Voting rights advocates joined a lawsuit Tuesday against Georgia election officials for the unusually high rate of absentee mail ballot rejects.
GOP voter suppression activity is often done in the name of protecting elections from fraud–which in reality is practically nonexistant. President Donald Trump has been at the forefront of making those charges.
The president tweeted on Oct. 22 that “all levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD, including during EARLY VOTING.”
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, called out Trump.
“President Trump’s statement regarding vote fraud is one of the most naked attempts to promote voter suppression that we have seen in modern time. His statement is intended to promote fear and incite law enforcement to action in ways that could chill voter participation this midterm election cycle. Meanwhile this administration and the Justice Department’s silence regarding widespread voter suppression has been deafening,” she said in a statement sent to NewsOne.
Republican shenanigans at the polls were not limited to targeting Black voters directly but also Democrats in general. In Arkansas, Garland County election officials had to close three early voting sites on Monday because the Democratic nominee for secretary of state Susan Inman was left off of ballots.
Also on Monday, five students at Prairie View A&M University, an HBCU, sued Waller County in Texas for allegedly suppressing Black voting rights the Texas Tribune reported. Election officials there violated the federal Voting Rights Act by not providing any early voting locations on campus or in the city of Prairie View, according to the plaintiffs.
“There is no legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for defendants to deny opportunities for early voting during the first week to plaintiffs and black voters in Prairie View on an equal basis with other non-black voters of Waller County,” the lawsuit states.
Meanwhile, Black voters in North Carolina were expected to speak with the Franklin County Board of Elections on Tuesday about a poll worker who allegedly intimidated them at an early voting site on Thursday.
In Tennessee, Democratic Party leaders found several problems at early voting sites across the state. The list includes poll workers rejecting some registrations if the applicant didn’t check the Miss/Mrs./Mr. box, as well as electronic voting machines that didn’t allow voters to select the candidate they wanted or switched candidate selections.
“What troubles us is it seems to be favoring one party and one type of voter over another. It seems to be suppressing voters that would vote for Democrats, voters of color,” party chair Mary Mancini told the Commercial Appeal.