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Here's What Everyone's Getting Wrong About Voter Suppression in Two Key States Before the Midterm Elections

October 25, 2018 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, Independent Media Institute

No simple solutions in Georgia and North Dakota.

With Election Day nearing, the partisan rhetoric over voting is growing and not helping those at the center of the storm—actual voters in key states.

Perhaps this is inevitable given a political culture where rants and raves take center stage, as best evidenced by President Trump making new noise about the virtually non-existent threat of illegal voters—people posing as someone else to vote. (Non-existent means 31 instances of voter impersonation out of a billion ballots cast between 2000 and 2014.)

But back in real life, there’s plenty of rhetoric that’s not giving an accurate picture to voters in a handful of states with tight races where every vote might count in determining governors and who controls Congress. The bottom line is the reality of what will face ordinary Americans seeking to vote is being obscured.

Situations now unfolding in Georgia and North Dakota are prime examples.

Let’s start with Georgia, where, on Tuesday, a federal judge ordered the state not to reject mail-in ballots where there were discrepancies between what voters write on the envelope and state election records. (Those could be a signature that doesn’t look like what was on their registration form, or not correctly filling in a date on the envelope.)

Technicalities of that ilk are designed to disqualify and to disenfranchise. And they are part of a bigger pattern in this state that’s also holding 53,000 registrations hostage. These are paper voter registration forms, which, under a new “exact match” statute, are not getting approved without further scrutiny. This is not happening with voters who registered online or automatically when getting a driver’s license.

On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered Georgia not to disqualify those absentee ballots that had suspicious signatures or other disqualifying marks. Civil rights lawyers, as they’re wont to do, quickly declared victory over the voter suppressors.

“We are pleased that the court has enforced the due process guarantees of the U.S. Constitution,” Sean Young, legal director of Georgia’s branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, <a target=_blank …read more


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