Voters came out in droves on Super Tuesday to cast their votes in the Democratic Primary with hopes that their support for the candidates they are vying for would place them one step closer to winning the Democratic nomination. However, many voters, particularly in Texas, were met with a variety of obstacles, such as polling locations being changed at the last minute, which could have potentially deterred them from casting a ballot. The voter suppression was evident on Tuesday, but many residents were steadfast in their desire to make their voices heard, even if that meant waiting in line for two, three or six hours just to vote.
Hervis Rogers was among many in line to cast a vote at Texas Southern University. However, he was the last person to cast a ballot at 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, over six hours after he initially got in line to vote.
“We did that. It’s over with,” Rogers said as he exited the HBCU. Though Rogers left in good spirits. “I wanted to get my vote in, voice my opinion. I wasn’t going to let anything stop me, so I waited it out,” he told a Texas ABC affiliate.
A woman named Carla Reed was photographed alongside Rogers as she also waited six hours to cast her ballot.
Social media collectively praise the two Texas residents for persevering through the challenges placed before them and many other voters in the state. “Thank you Carla Reed & Hervis Rogers – you are American Heroes! GOP TX govt iw/malice & forethought reduced the number of voting stations in predominantly POC areas despite the increase in population- you deserve better in fact it’s your right! The joke’s on @TexasGOP YOU VOTED!” one person tweeted.
Texas has closed more polling locations than any other state since 2012, with those closures disproportionately affecting Black and brown voters, according to a report from The Guardian. “In 2012, there was one polling place for every 4,000 residents. By 2018 that figure had dropped to one polling place per 7,700 residents,” the report said.
However, Texas isn’t the only state that was subjected to voter suppression on Super Tuesday. Many voters in California withstood hours-long lines as well.
“There’s reports of heavy voter suppression in minority communities in both California and Texas. Thousands of voting centers closed to create lines 5+ hours long. If it was that bad there, imagine the finagling they did in the Southern states where this is normal,” said one Twitter user.
Former NAACP President and Harvard Kennedy School professor, Rev. Cornell Williams Brooks, pointed to the correlation between voter suppression and poll tax. “When polling places are deliberately shut down to force working people to wait HOURS to vote, it’s a poll tax. The time STOLEN from your job, and time STOLEN from your paycheck is a #SuperTuesday poll tax. This is a #2020 violation of the 24th Amendment,” he tweeted.
And while the hopes are that these polling issues won’t be indicative of how things will go on Nov. 3, the uncertainty is glaring.