Election Day Brings about Questions of Voter Suppression


Photo Courtesy of Matt Slocum/AP

Voter turnout sets for a record high as millions of mail-in ballots are still being counted.

Zoey Pudenz, Co Editor-In-Chief

According to Britannica, voter suppression is any legal or extralegal (illegal) measure or strategy whose purpose or practical effect is to reduce voting or register to vote, by members of a targeted racial group, political party, or religious community. 

Due to COVID-19, many voters have resulted in mail-in voting to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus. However, President Donald J. Trump attempted to ban mail-in votes.

“Trump trying to stop mail-in ballots was a way to suppress voters by not allowing them to use their voice,” said junior Alana Textor. “He knew that most mail-in ballots were from Democrats, and if their vote wasn’t counted, that would increase his chances of winning this election.”

Junior Konnor McDaniel understands Trump’s initial plan to stop mail-in ballots.

“Trump trying to stop mail-in ballots, in general, would be voter suppression since all votes are equal no matter what form, but I do understand his frustrations with unsolicited mail-in ballots,” McDaniel said. “In other words, ballots sent to people’s homes without their request to do so. This can easily get messy and confusing and undermines the election process in general.”

On the other hand, junior Abigail Cahill was disappointed by the President’s attempts to stop mail-in ballots.

“Mail-in ballots have quite literally existed since Lincoln’s presidency, so it was really upsetting hearing about his attempts to stop them,” Cahill said. “I personally find it to be a very anti-American action, and voting safely should be prioritized over anything.”

According to social sciences teacher Kevin Coker, a pattern throughout history is voter caging. Voter caging can be defined as challenging the registration status of voters and calling into question the legality of allowing them to vote.

“What certain parties will do is they’ll send out information to voters home address, and if it gets returned then they’ll just purge that person’s vote and say ‘even though that person is registered for us, their address is wrong so they should be ineligible to vote,’” Coker said. “Now, that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but what tends to happen with that sort of stuff is they disproportionately attack minorities, and if that information gets returned then that’s the opportunity for your registration to be challenged by either party.”

According to NBC News, President Trump falsely claimed he had won the election. The President also stated, “this is a major fraud on our nation…we want the law to be used in a proper manner, so we will be going to the U.S. Supreme Court and we want all voting to stop.”

There is no evidence of major fraud.

“The conversation that’s taken place by the Trump administration is that there is at least some effort into trying to stop certain votes,” Coker said. “The President said so himself last night that we should stop counting votes right now. But, he said that because he was winning in those areas, whether that’s fear that you know maybe this isn’t going to turn out in favor for him, or if there’s any legitimacy to it.”

According to Coker, there is concern from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) because there is a long history of suppressing minority votes in the United States.

“Going back to reconstruction, Jim Crow laws, poll taxes, literacy laws, and that sort of stuff to keep African Americans from voting,” Coker said. “Naturally, the Electoral College is going to limit the vote of the people who live in larger metropolitan areas.” We know, statistically speaking, that minorities are far more likely to live in those large metropolitan areas than they are in rural districts. This isn’t a problem of either the republicans or democrats right now, but this is the problem where certain people’s votes don’t count as much as other people’s because of the Electoral College.”

As vote counting continues, Cahill reflects on voter suppression in America.

“I think it’s upsetting that it even exists,” Cahill said. “Voter suppression is really bad for us and makes it harder for everyone to have a say in elections. It is really disappointing because voting is a huge part of what makes America what it is.”