The legitimacy of our government and elected leaders is predicated on our fundamental right to vote. For almost six months, Americans have taken to the streets because we no longer believe that our voices are being heardby our elected leaders.
When our system is working, Americans embrace their constitutional right to express themselves at the polls. Today, however, voting itself is not working since our system has buckled under the weight of repressive voter ID laws, toxic partisanship and racial gerrymandering, voter roll purges, and precinct closures that disproportionately target minority voters.
Since the 2018 primaries, in Arizona and Georgia, one in five voting locations have closed in those states. In Texas, more than one in ten has closed. In Louisiana and Mississippi, one in twenty has closed. These closures mostly occurred in minority neighborhoods, and even with mail-in ballots, some states are not expanding the privilege during a nationwide pandemic, increasing fears that this year voting might lead to less turnout or higher infection rates.
Voting lines and wait times have been getting longer and longer, and there is a reason for that. Voting should take no longer than 30 minutes, according to the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, but in the 2018 primaries, nearly half of Latino voters and black voters waited for an average of 45 percent longer than white voters. That’s mainly because people of color tend to live in communities where there are fewer electoral resources.