question—one of the many—hanging over the 2016 election is the impact of state laws and administrative techniques designed to make it more difficult for people to vote. How were people affected, and to what degree did these practices alter the election’s outcome? And what is going to happen in 2018, as a national administration committed to depressing the right to vote works with state allies? Next year is an off-year election when factors influencing turnout, even marginally, could be crucial. Conversely, what forms of resistance are already occurring, and how effective will they be in protecting and expanding the franchise? In 2016, other factors affecting turnout included the Russian hacking, the Comey interventions, the enthusiasm gap among Obama voters, the lack of a clear economic message and other missteps of the Clinton campaign itself—the list goes on. So it isn’t surprising that attempts to quantify the impact of voter suppression have been complicated.
But if we look at just three states that could have made the difference in the presidential election—Wisconsin (Trump won by about 22,000), Michigan (11,000), and Pennsylvania (71,000)—all three of them had significant legislative and administrative actions that discouraged or prevented tens of thousands of voters from participating, and in some cases blocked recounts.
… Whether people come out and vote in 2018 will be a critical event for our country’s future. Some analysts are predicting a significant drop in participation rates for 2018, especially among the “rising American electorate,” which will be more than 60 percent of the potential electorate in 2018. Ensuring that this does not happen—not just for election outcomes but for the health of our democracy itself—will require a major effort in many directions. Making sure the barriers that prevent people from exercising their right to vote are torn down is one critical piece. For those seeking the widest possible participation, and outcomes reflective of America’s people as a whole, the stakes are immensely high.
Full Article: Voter Suppression in the Mirror and Looking Forward.