As the American electorate becomes more diverse, new voting laws threaten to disenfranchise young Black and Latino voters in what a new report called “the largest wave of voter suppression since the enactment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.” The report by OurTime.org and Advancement Project, titled “The Time Tax,” details disparities in the excessive wait times that millennials (18-29 years-old), especially millennials of color, endured to cast votes during the 2012 November elections. According to the report, millennials are expected to account for 40 percent of the electorate in less than eight years including a higher proportion of young minority voters. During the 2012 November elections, millennial voters (18-29 years-old) accounted for 19 percent of the electorate. While turnout for Latinos, Asians and the youngest voters decreased (18-24 years-old), voter turnout for Blacks increased. Yet, Blacks “waited an average of 23 minutes to vote, compared to only 12 minutes for Whites,” stated the report.
In Florida, the last state to report final vote tallies, the wait times were especially egregious for young voters and minorities during the 2012 November elections. According to the study, during the 2012 elections, Floridians reported “an average wait time of 39 minutes to cast a ballot,” three times the national average of 13.3 minutes.
“More than 20% of voters in Miami-Dade County were under 30, and closing times were later in precincts where there were more voters under 30,” stated the report.
Some voters complained of waiting 19 hours to vote in Florida, according to an Advancement Project study filed with the Presidential Commission of Election Administration, a government agency tasked with improving the voting experience for all eligible citizens. Voting rights advocates fear that the ‘time tax’ will discourage young voters from voting in future elections.