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Voter suppression refers to various anti-democratic practices in history that can vary in legality. It is a form of voter manipulation that allows more unpopular parties, including authoritarian regimes, to force a lower turnout by targeting usually minority or otherwise oppressed groups and preventing them from voting.
Voter ID laws
REAL ID Act is bad.
Gerrymandering, while technically legal, can be abused to be a form of voter suppression. Those that manipulate the vote draw squiggly district lines to fracture districts or try to cast a convoluted rope over a small parcel of a district to maximize the representation. Gerrymandering in of itself is not always voter suppression; African American civil rights groups have attempted to increase black representation, though it is ruled in Shaw v. Reno that district lines cannot be based on race. The first past the post system makes gerrymandering particularly effective as whoever wins districts are calculated in a winner-takes-all, which, cumulatively, contributes to a winner-takes-all of the state. In the electoral college, voting against your state (more specifically, the elector that's supposed to represent your state's votes) generally means exactly zero representation.
Direct disenfranchisement of minority groups
Preventing convicted felons may sound a good idea at a glance, though it is problematic if you give a little more pause. Even if the felony conviction is applied fairly (which is not), felony crimes seem irrelevant to whatever candidates convicted felons support. Several countries including, but not limited to France, Germany, Japan, Israel, Zimbabwe, Norway, Kenya, and Peru seem to agree by allowing felons to vote, unless the felons are convicted of a crime directly related to the elections (such as accepting bribery from dictators to influence elections). Nevertheless, definitions of a felony are already very hairy to navigate and easy to manipulate, and application of felony convictions tend to skew against minority groups including blacks and Latinos. For instance, the War on Drugs campaign as well as other drug criminalization laws loosened the bar for felony convictions by defining possession of particular drugs a felony, thus leading to more felony convictions and thus leading to more people that cannot vote.
In three states, Iowa, Kentucky, and Virginia, felons are permanently disenfranchised and require an official pardon from the governor, while only two states, Maine and Vermont, allow every criminal to vote. Overall, nearly six million people with felony convictions cannot vote, with Alabama sharing one of the highest amount of people with felony convictions that cannot vote, 7.2% of Alabama's citizens. Florida, however, was regarded as the felon disenfranchisement leader, having 1.5 million Americans being unable to vote. Later in 2018, however, Florida later restored voting rights to ex-felons via passage of Amendment 4.
Voter count fraud
Jim Crow laws
In the 2018 governor election, Georgia's secretary of state Brian Kemp has been overseeing voter registration documents and put 53,000 voter registrations on hold, though Kemp was also responsible for rejecting 1.4 million voter registrations since 2012, with around 670,000 voter registrations being canceled in 2017. Around 70% of the voters put on hold were black. This may have partially to do with Georgia's questionable "exact match" laws, which information on voter registration forms must be consistent with the information in the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration; most omitted forms had minor inconsistencies such as hyphens. Kemp, however, fervently denied he took part in voter suppression and instead blamed the New Georgia Project, as it handled mainly paper forms, had a tendency to fail other registration methods predominantly used by blacks.
- Staples, B. (November 18, 2014). The Racist Origins of Felon Disenfranchisement. The New York Times. Retrieved Jul6, 2019.
- Felony Disenfranchisement Laws (Map). ACLU. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
- Pilkington, E. (July 13, 2012). Felon voting laws to disenfranchise historic number of Americans in 2012. The Guardian. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
- CBS News. (January 8, 2019) Florida ex-felons can begin registering to vote as amendment takes effect. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
- Nadler, B. (October 12, 2018). Georgia Republican candidate for governor puts 53,000 voter registrations on hold. USA Today. Retrieved July 6, 2019.