What’s the Scope of Voter Suppression in this Election?

After months of trying, are voter suppression tactics really working at the polls?

By Jamilah King Nov 07, 2012

It’s too early to tell, but here’s a sampling of anecdotal reports from our community journalists spread out around the country that are unconfirmed but offer a sense of the problem.

Meagan Ortiz has the following from California:

[Voter] ID problems continue to occur across the country. In Los Angeles County, in a predominantly Latino and African-American neighborhood, a woman reported that voters were being asked to present a California state driver’s license or ID in order to vote.

In Jefferson County, Colorado, which includes the city of Lakewood, a pollworker was unaware that a utility bill is acceptable form of identification. At first the voter was told to file a provisional ballot but she insisted and verified she was on voting list. Eventually she was allowed to vote via a regular ballot.

From Kemi Bellow in Texas:

College students in Terre Haute, Indiana were made to stand in a separate line to cast their ballot. When a voter and college student attempted to vote, her ballot was taken away from her by a poll official, who told her that she would not be able to vote. The poll worker then reportedly told her that the ballots of the other college students would be destroyed.

Election Protection has also received multiple reports from Minnesota that poll workers were informing voters that "not voting for the constitutional amendments is the same as voting no," perhaps in an attempt to influence voting behavior.

At Camp Navajo in Arizona, a voter called in to explain that she was required to submit photo identification, when Arizona law only requires ID.

Here’s what Meta Mendel-Reyes is reporting from Kentucky:

In Detroit Michigan, https://electionawareness.appspot.com/report/3328255703">according to Election Protection, District 13 is demanding drivers licenses. People are not being allowed to vote even if they have a voter ID card., nor are they being given the option of signing an affidavit saying they don’t have ID.

In Cottageville, SC, a https://electionawareness.appspot.com/report/3328256935">voter had allegedly had his military identification rejected and he was asked to show a driver’s license, even though a photo id is not required under state law until 2013. He reported that the election officials did not seem to know about the law.

From Hermelinda Cortes in Virginia:

Across the country, voters are also being sent to the wrong polling locations. In Springfield, MA, redistricting changes sent voters to multiple locations before finding the correct one. In Staunton, VA a voter was told that they had to return to a former polling station from a former address and was turned away. In San Francisco, CA, an official city elections map is sending people to the wrong neighborhood.

For months, our Voting Rights Watch team has been reporting on voter suppression news from across the country. And, finally, today’s the day. Stay tuned for more once we’re able to confirm these reports.