According to a new report by The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, southern states have lost 1,200 polling places since 2013. There are even 7 Georgia counties that have just one polling place for the entire county.
These states have slowly been making it more difficult for voters since 2013 when the Supreme Court loosened voting discrimination laws. Before the landmark decision, states needed federal approval in order to change their voting laws.
The federal oversight was originally put in place to prevent discrimination. “We don’t have that anymore,” said the head of the civil rights group, Leigh Chapman.
The biggest issues seem to be in states led by Republicans which have added lots of new restrictions in places like Atlanta where people are already waiting hours to vote. New regulations that cut voting hours and require photo IDs will make the process even more difficult and time-consuming.
— Jennifer Leslie Boettcher (@jlesboettcher) November 6, 2018
In Texas, things are looking even grimmer. Since the Supreme Court decision, the state has lost 750 polling places which are nearly half of all the closings for the entire country during the same time period — 590 of them closed since the 2014 midterm election. The city of Dallas alone lost 74.
The report talks about the effects of making it more difficult for people to vote and how it tends to hit minority communities the hardest:
“Closing polling places has a cascading effect, leading to long lines at other polling places, transportation hurdles, denial of language assistance and other forms of in-person help, and mass confusion about where eligible voters may cast their ballot. For many people, and particularly for voters of color, older voters, rural voters, and voters with disabilities, these burdens make it harder—and sometimes impossible—to vote.”
Worried about voter rights? The Brennan Center for Justice is dedicated to fighting unnecessary barriers to voting and making sure America stays free. Learn more here.