Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
[flagged] Protect the Vote: Stopping Voter Suppression (protectthevote.net)
42 points by erichocean 4 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 32 comments

The US needs voting reform badly. Race is currently one of the strongest predictors for how long people wait in line to vote even when you control for poverty [1].

Sadly, I don't see it happening without a change in our political landscape. The Senate has been actively blocking legislation to restore the voting rights act for the past 315 days [2]. This is the legislation introduced in the 1960's to prevent racial discrimination in elections at the height of the civil rights movement. Unfortunately, enforcement has been stripped out over the past few decades making it completely toothless. The tragedy, is that the legislation to restore its power isn't even being blocked because of discussions and legislative differences that can be worked through. It is being blocked by the majority leader just refusing to even hear or vote about it.

[1] https://mavenroundtable.io/theintellectualist/news/study-rac...

[2] https://www.axios.com/john-lewis-voting-rights-senate-5fb8d3...

> Race is currently one of the strongest predictors for how long people wait in line to vote even when you control for poverty [1].

Surely the most causal factor is location? The black & minority vote generally goes to Democrats; so presumably in Democrat controlled states any impediments to minority voters would be dealt with promptly.

Of course I would have doubts about pulling causality out of something as complicated as this, but here is an interesting paper that talks about a few possible mechanisms [1]. The big ones it seems are:

- Inflexibility in when people may vote; The types of jobs people have access to has a racial bias. Black people tend to have jobs where they literally aren't allowed to leave during they which means they can't stop by the polling location during off hours. This can make polling places deal with larger peaks in predominantly black areas.

- Partisan resource allocation; predominantly black regions tend to lean democrat and so in republican areas they may receive fewer resources to deal with voting.

- Voter ID laws; These also have a racial lean and can clog up regions where they are enacted. Minorities also tend to have a more difficult time gaining access to IDs for voting and so people may have to come back multiple times or be turned away.

- State voting laws; Regions vary with who has access to early voting, vote by mail, etc. These tend to have a racial bias as well.

[1] https://www.nber.org/papers/w26487?sy=487

Discrimination due to working times, location, and ability to show ID are not racist. They may affect black people disproportionately, but they also affect millions of whites and other races too. Those things seem to have more to do with economic status than race to me.

Taxicab's first post explicitly stated that the study they linked found race to be significant even after controlling for economic status.

It's about race.

I’m fed up seeing this kind of shallow dismissal. This is a particularly egregious example; you are a hair away from saying “discrimination that affects <race> disproportionately is not racist”.

I mean, you’re basically describing redlining (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redlining) - a textbook case of a “we all already agree that this is racist and it’s not particularly controversial” concept.

You don’t need a law that says “Black people can’t vote” in order to have racist policies!

The mechanism by which modern racists work is to find categories that are not strictly racial but which have a very strong racial correlation and then apply restrictions and barriers on this correlated category while claiming to not be acting with racial bias. What is changing is that people are starting to see right through these and courts are also starting to exhibit basic statistical literacy with regards to these tactics.

73% of all arrests are male[0]. This imbalance does not mean that there is systemic bias against men, though. It means they commit more arrestable actions.

[0] https://www.drugwarfacts.org/node/986


I don't quite understand what you're trying to say here. Can you please clarify?

The most mind-blowing example I've seen is in Texas, where Loving County (population of 169) and Harris County (~70% people of colour, population of 4.7 million) both have 1 ballot drop off location.

Why do you need ballot drop-off locations for mail-in ballots? Can't they be, you know, mailed in?

We don't have separate drop off boxes for tax returns, why would this be different? And that's something that carries penalties for not submitting on time. Or am I missing something?


While I agree in principle, imagine for a moment a crazy world where a president tried to defund the post office and the senate approved a postmaster who actively tried to prevent ballots being delivered on time. Wouldn't you feel better taking your ballot in yourself, just to be safe?

You're definitely missing something, cause 82.3% of voters in Texas thus far went for in-person drop-off. (That's 24.3% of total turnout in 2016.)

I can’t really tell what this organization wants. Anyways, requiring ID is not voter suppression. This article wasn’t very hacker news anywya.

> Anyways, requiring ID is not voter suppression.

I think if you did any reading on this topic at all you’d find that’s incorrect.

Wow every response to you has been flagged. Really makes me think... Anyway, why don’t you take a look at every other major and minor democracy in the world and see how they do it. They require ID.

Australia doesn't.

The fact of the matter is that voter ID laws prevent legal voters from having their voices heard and that they disproportionately affect minorities. Participating in democracy is meant for everyone, not just the people who can afford a poll tax or who can afford to go through a stringent verification process. It's telling that the supports of voter ID laws are also against providing every legal voter with an ID for no cost.

Serving as an election officer, my mind is blown by these ID claims:

- We do shag-all else in life without showing identification. Try to see a dentist without photo ID and proof of insurance.

- State issued ID with a bar code ensures rapid check-in to participate, minimizing lines, while maximizing valid voter participation.

- The nicest thing I have to say about the opposing arguments is they are far from compelling.

Database maintenance is hard. It is my hope that the results of the election next month are solid enough that the U.S. has a mandate to shore up the whole creaky mess and ensure every legal voter is treated equally, as they should be.


> while they are clearly using a dog whistle

I forgive you this false assertion.

I've voted Democrat my whole life but I'm also a bit of an idealist in that I'd like voters to be mildly informed on what/who they're voting for, and IMO if someone can't spend the small time/effort to get an ID (which is sort of needed for modern living anyway), are they really going to spend time/effort to do a bare minimum amount of work to become informed on their votes?

It'd be ideal if people could step back, disassociate themselves from their political party, and decide if something makes sense.

It also prevents illegal voters from voting. There are more than 10 million illegal immigrants in the US current. I think the economic arguments you’ve made have been disproven. All the states I’ve looked at allow you to get an ID for free.

If only there was evidence that these people are actually trying to vote illegally. Yet, after spending millions of dollars trying, and trying, and really REALLY trying people like you are still unable to demonstrate that this is a problem. It is almost like the whole illegal voting thing is a red herring that is used to disguise your actual intentions...

Needing an ID is common sense. Europe has this: show your personal ID and it's done.

This is an idealistic oversimplification.

> Unfortunately, voters this year will face obstacles that have no place in a modern democracy — and these impediments to voting will hit communities of color the hardest.

This reminds me of the classic Ami Horowitz video where he asks whites at a uni about voter "suppression" and then blacks in the street about their responses


Poll watchers are the most dangerous aspect of this year's election. You're going to end up with armed partisans of both sides showing up to polling centers. If conflicts(shootings) arise from this, it will further strengthen the claims by some that the election is illegitimate.

This is what I've been thinking. It's exactly what Russia did when they scheduled Facebook Events at the same locations/times for groups with opposing views.

Isn't voter suppression more of a legislative issue in modern times?

Is there no culture of international election observation in the US? You sometimes hear about this on the news about elections, especially in newer democracies.

There is, but most of them aren’t coming this year due to our stellar handling of this pandemic.

Here's a source: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/sep/28/us-election-...

It's happened in 2016 and possibly before that (?) as well. I think it's probably a good idea for most democracies, newer or otherwise.

Why would the US need that? You have people from both parties observing. Just take a look at how many lawsuits have been filed from both sides about elections laws trying to hold the state accountable.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact