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Minority groups across the country are battling voter suppression efforts

by Marchella Marconi, Contributor

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With the 2018 midterm elections just six days away, minority groups in certain regions have been faced with a variety of different efforts dedicated to restricting them from, or in other words, voter disenfranchisement.

Unfortunately, voter disenfranchisement isn’t anything new.

For decades, minority voter rights have been targeted for deprivation.

Let’s recall some historical voter suppression tactics, such as the literacy test required by the Jim Crow laws that forced African Americans to take before being able to vote.

Today, voter restriction tactics still attempt to reduce the number of voters who might go against a candidate or proposition.

One tactic implemented to make this happen is tweaking or passing minor laws that make voting more difficult.

Right now, sneaky laws and propositions are being passed that dismantles voters’ ability to vote.

It’s pretty shocking people in power are intentionally passing laws that discount our civil liberties, in order to serve their selfish agendas.

Are we actually surprised by this news?

With that being said, let’s touch on two voter suppression attempts that are currently taking place in our country.

North Dakota – The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) sent an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which was rejected, as an attempt to conserve their right to vote.

Here’s what’s going down: North Dakota recently passed a new voter ID law (this is the law NARF appealed in which the Supreme Court refused).

The new voter ID law makes it mandatory to have a current residential address on your identification to vote.

This is a serious problem, because a large majority of Native Americans live on rural tribal reservations and only use P.O. boxes, which do not count as “residential addresses.” Native Americans might be unable to vote using their tribal ID cards. They’re being deemed as invalid due to their use of a P.O. box, which they need since they live on their tribal reservations.

What are they supposed to do?!

Now get this: there is a fiery Senate race occurring between Democrat Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Kevin Cramer. Heidi only won her last race for the U.S. Senate in 2012, by a mere 2,900 votes.

She also received 80 percent of Native American votes. Guess how many Native Americans are now facing the possible inability to vote, due to the new voter ID law?  Roughly 5,000. This could be a determining factor that tips the election in one way or another. Coincidence? I think not.

Georgia – Brian Kemp is the Republican nominee for governor.

His opponent, Stacey Abrams, who, if she wins, will be the first ever female African American governor in the United States.

Polling is predicting a terribly close race where the winner could be determined by only some thousands of votes once more.

Let’s break it down: Brian Kemp also happens to be Georgia’s current secretary of state, where one of his duties just so happens to be overseeing state elections. In July 2017, his “voter restricting” campaign cut out 8 percent of the entire state’s registered voters, 600,000 people to be exact and 107,000 of them were purged only because they hadn’t voted in recent elections.

Now in 2018, Kemp has blocked 53,000 of the states residents from registering to vote, 70 percent of whom are people of color and would most likely vote for his opponent, Stacey Abrams.

Again…Coincidence?

Recall this election will be a close one, decided by some thousands of votes. Therefore, these 53,000 state residents, who now might be unable to vote, are a critical factor for dictating the path of this election.

The craziest part about all of this is it’s entirely legal. Georgia is one of eight other states who have adopted a “use it or lose it” law that permits voter registrations to be canceled or voided if that person hasn’t voted recently.

Another voter suppression tactic is Georgia’s “exact match” law, where a voter registration application must be identical to the information the state has on file.

So, for example, if you have “Jon” on one document and “Jonathan” on another, your application is put on hold until the applicant provides alternate identity documents.

These applicants who are on “hold” are still able to vote, but it’s sure that many will be discouraged by their “pending” status. See how These sneaky methods indirectly maneuver our own actions and intentions.

They’re trying to pull fast ones over us, in the hopes that we won’t notice. We notice. And voters across the country must mobilize together and refuse the efforts taken to suppress our votes. Our voices matter, and they must be heard.

Marchella Marconi is a senior studying marketing.

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