Voter Suppression Watchdogs on High Alert for Midterm Election Day

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Correspondent

On election days there are no “do-overs.” Mistakes and mishaps may be subject to court proceedings later but on the day after an election none of that matters. Typically, whoever was declared the winner on the night of the election prevails.

Voting rights experts are well aware of that fact.

On election day morning voters were turned away in Detroit because the voting machines weren’t set up. The location was Martin Luther King Jr. High School.

“DETROIT: If you arrived at the Martin Luther King Jr. High School poling site and were not able to vote because the machines were not set up, please contact us ASAP at 866-OUR-VOTE,” tweeted attorney, leading voting rights advocate Kristen Clarke. Clarke is the President of the National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She has been quite busy in recent weeks.

During the early voting period on November 2, an election judge in Texas was seen on video yelling at a black voter while threatening to call police after a question regarding polling locations. The Williamson County election judge and a supervisor later resigned after being exposed by local media.

“If you’re in line to vote, #StayInLine. If you’re in line to vote, #StayInLine. If you’re in line to vote, #StayInLine. If you’re in line to vote, #StayInLine. If you’re in line to vote, #StayInLine. You have the right to vote. Call @866OURVOTE with questions or voting issues,” tweeted attorney Vanita Gupta. Gupta is the President of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

In Georgia, where Secretary of State Brian Kemp is running against Stacey Abrams for Governor of Florida the continuation of in-your-face voter suppression was reported by the news before noon.

“Ready to wait? Hundreds of voters stand in line for hours this morning at this SW Atlanta polling place. Only three voting machines! What’s going on here? Live report at noon,” reported Tom Regan of Atlanta’s WSB TV. His report on twitter included video of a very long line of people waiting to vote. Almost all of those in the video were African American.

Five hours later. Regan reported, “UPDATE: Elections officials add five more voting machines to the three at SW Atlanta precinct where lines stretched on for hours. Still a long wait to cast ballots.”

Making voting difficult, and at one time impossible, for African Americans in particular, is part of the history of the American south.

Ari Berman, author of the book “Give Us the Ballot wondered outlaid about Georgia in particular writing, “4.5 hours to vote? This is unconscionable. Brian Kemp should’ve fixed GA’s broken voting system instead of falsely accusing Dems of cybercrimes.”

Days before Election Day, Georgia’s Secretary State, who is also on the ballot for Governor, accused his opponent of misconduct. There was no proof of what Kemp alleged. But like so much that surrounds voting in America: Evidence and proof frequently have nothing to do with the laws around how American cast ballots in elections.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and writer for NNPA as well as a political analyst and communications strategist. She appears regularly on Roland Martin Unfiltered and can be contacted at and on twitter at @LVBurke


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