Voter Suppression in the 2020 Election
Despite still being in a global pandemic, U.S. citizens cast their votes on November 3, 2020 for who should be their next president and other government representatives. People are arguing over whether voter suppression had anything to do with the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Voter suppression is not uncommon in the U.S. election system. In 2004, conspiracy theories came out of voter suppression when George W. Bush won against Algore despite the unpopularity of the Iraq War. In 2008, Senator John McCain also touched on voter suppression destroying democracy.
“That, to me, was the first example of voter tampering that we witnessed as a nation. After that happened, I kinda was demoralized about the whole voting process,” voter, Dock Holmes, said.
There have been many efforts over the years to combat voter suppression, however, more efforts have developed to continue suppression. In Texas, voters were limited to one ballot dropbox per county, while others felt pre-election polls predicting Biden to win could have stopped Republicans from voting.
Different laws are in place in all 50 states to lessen voter suppression, however, the Constitution does not directly touch on how voting should work. State legislatures have different ways to handle voter suppression and the 10th Amendment leaves these decisions up to the state.
It is believed that the U.S. will see stricter state laws after the 2020 election regarding voter suppression. The media has called-out voter suppression efforts more over the years which has led to discouraging voters while also helping them spot voter constraint.
The 2020 election opened a lot of eyes to voters and legislatures on the efforts to discourage voters from having their voices heard. Elections could look different in the upcoming years with people being more aware of voter constraints and calling for more attention to these issues.
“I think since there is more attention to the issue of voter suppression right now, then
we’d be more likely to see some kind of legislation to come out of it,” Dr. Lara Wessel said.
Despite efforts to suppress voters, the 2020 election broke records for voter turnout with 158,831,694 U.S. total estimated ballots while only 138,846,571 U.S. ballots were estimated in 2016. Georgia Hit record numbers in the 2020 election with 5,025,000 total estimated ballots versus 4,165,405 total estimated ballots in 2016. Early voting and mail-in ballots contributed to these numbers and the effort to combat voter suppression.
More people voted in this election, but it wasn’t easy. Early voting allowed for less people waiting in line together amid a pandemic, however, people were confused about polling sites. While some people believed they could vote anywhere, it took them going to the polling location to find out they were not able to vote. For some, this was discouraging if they were out of town.
“I didn’t get to vote. They let me know I should be voting at a different polling location,” voter Fatima Baugh said.
With the potential for more early voting, better direction and awareness of voter constraint, the 2020 election could be the first step in combating voter suppression nationwide.