As the United States heads into an iconic voting cycle, every citizen is being inundated with pleas to vote. To be sure, none of these pleas is without merit because the United States has historically had low voter turnout; because of the rhetoric about how “voting is irrelevant,” many people take that to heart. However, this year, much is at stake, and social media has been flooded with dire warnings against nonparticipation. Ever since civics were taken out of mandated education, many constituents have been unaware of the effects of apathy. However, the “game” has changed, all sides know it, and the United States has seen an election cycle even more ardent than the 2016 presidential election.
Voter suppression has soared in ways that only the most corrupt could ever have imagined. While identification has been required in most states, several states have been doing their best to close locations to obtain identification, which means that people unable to access transit have been shut out of the process. This is crucial because many of those voters are already marginalized, which means that several people from the dominant narrative are aware that many are unhappy with current policies. The danger, however, is that those populations will not be heard because of completely legal tactics that have to be argued in courts.
Another tactic has been to reduce the number of locations for voting, which is insidious especially considering that not every location in the United States allows for early voting. When there is only one day to vote, people need as many locations as possible so that the issues on all levels–including local bonds, state officials, and federal representatives– can be discussed by all within a community. Reducing locations means that only the upper echelons are able to decide whether affordable housing should be built or whether cities should offer tax incentives that drive up costs of living for distressed neighborhoods. Officials know this, and yet they persist.
Perhaps the most disgusting demonstration of corruption has been in the state of Georgia between Stacy Abrams and Brian Kemp. Even though it is the year 2018 and Georgia has a historically high Black population, Stacy Abrams would be the first Black woman to be governor of Georgia. However, in each state, the Secretary of State oversees the election process; in the state of Georgia, Brian Kemp is the official Secretary of State. This means that a candidate actually has the power to decide whether his opponents votes are legitimate, which bodes ill for the state of Georgia. Voting purges, turning people away, and attempting to arrest Ms. Abrams are but a few of the tactics used to discredit a viable candidate looking to bring change to Georgia. Ohio followed suit and was also caught purging votes, despite the strong working class population in Ohio.
All of these tricks are nothing new to lower income communities, but what makes this election cycle particular is the scale. Never before has this country seen the scale of desperation to maintain power that excludes so many. In the state of Florida, a right-wing group has put together robocalls with disrespectful stereotypes of Andrew Gillum, who could potentially be the first Black governor of Florida. When a society is recalibrating, the old regime will stoop to new lows, and it will be interesting to see the results of such scandalous behavior.