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Voter Suppression Was Out in Full Force on Super Tuesday

"I Voted" stickers cover a table at a polling station

(LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)

Coming out of yesterday’s Super Tuesday elections, most of us entered today feeling various degrees of disappointment. Unless you’re a Biden supporter (you do you), yesterday probably didn’t go as well as you hoped. A lot of people are choosing to direct their anger at the supporters of other candidates, making Twitter even more of a hellscape than usual right now.

But there’s one enemy we (should) all share and it played a major role in yesterday’s elections: voter suppression.

You might remember voter suppression from being a big issue in, well, pretty much every American election ever. And yesterday was no exception. The biggest problem being reported was the presence of extremely long lines at polling places. Now, when I say “long lines,” you might be imagining a something akin to waiting at a post office or maybe the DMV–more an inconvenience than genuinely suppressive.

In reality, many voters were met with waits upwards of two hours, with some reporting wait times closer to five hours or even seven or more hours in some Texas locations. If this were happening to voters across the country indiscriminately, it would still be terrible, but these waits disproportionately affect Black and Latinx voters. In Texas alone, hundreds of polling stations in districts with majority Democratic and POC voters have closed since 2012.

These sorts of lines are also disproportionately present in poorer districts where people might not have the option to miss work to wait hours to vote.

These inordinate wait times were the most visible form of voter suppression yesterday but they weren’t the only impediment to voting. The fact is, our country’s voting process is needlessly complicated and not at all helped by how different every state’s rules are. Some states allow same-day voter registration but most do not. Many have ID laws (themselves a form of voter suppression), and they vary by state. Many states allow Independents and unaffiliated voters (those registered without a party) to vote in any party’s primary election although that seems to be not widely known. Personally, I know quite a few unaffiliated voters who didn’t even know they were allowed to vote in their primary.

Some of that responsibility is, of course, on the individual voter to be informed about the process. (Here’s a handy tool for election information by state.) But there’s no denying that that process is needlessly–and often deliberately–complicated from start to finish.

If you’re looking to help fight voter suppression, check out the great work being done by Stacey Abrams’ organization Fair Fight.

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.