Rating Creative Voter Suppression Tactics

The US has seen some scary voter-suppression tactics in its past — like way back two years ago. But for the 2020 election, we saw some really creative tactics. So, I decided to rate some of these voter suppression tactics on creativity.

Voter Identification Laws: 21 million US citizens don’t have access to a government-issued photo ID, but many states require one to vote. This policy has the power to reduce voter turnout by 2-3 percentage points, translating to tens of thousands of votes lost in a single state.
Rate: 6/10 – Voter ID Laws are a kind of a well-thought-out, sneaky way to prevent the most vulnerable from voting.

Removing Drop-Off Boxes: Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order to limit a single designated drop-off location for mail ballots for each county in Texas for the 2020 election. The mandate took Harris County — home to Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city — from having a dozen drop-off locations to just one.
Rate: 3/10 – Just removing ballot boxes? Where’s the spice? The flavor?

Voter Purging: We can’t talk voter suppression without talking about Georgia’s voter purging. GA saw the largest voter purge in US history in July 2017, which wiped out the registrations of over 500,000 registered Georgian voters. The purge shockingly had a disproportionate effect registered Black voters. GA then purged another 300,000 voters in late 2019.
Rate: 2/10 – Voter suppression by simply suppressing voters? Boring. No originality.

Pennsylvania’s naked ballots: the status of more than 100,000 ballots could have been affected if PA voters didn’t place their ballot in a security envelope.
Rate: 9/10 – The name is super fun and this one got celebrities to go nude in a video!

Gerrymandering: strategically redistricting states to affect election outcomes. Voter suppression by map creation.
Rate: 7/10 – A little old-school, but you’ve gotta give it up for the artistic designs people come up with for districts and the fun name that goes along with it!

Voting with Witnesses: North Carolina has a rule that mail ballots be voted in the presence of a witness. The state is one of 10 with some kind of witness or notary requirement for mail-in ballots. According to the NC state board of elections, the witness has to sign the ballot, but “should not observe so closely that they can see how the voter votes…”
Rate: 7/10 – confusing, innovative… actually no, 8/10 — NC gets a bonus point for having this buddy-system rule during a pandemic.

Email Threats: Voters in Florida and Alaska received outright threats over email that read “vote for Trump or else.”
Rate: 6/10 – Straight-forward, violent threats but over the web, which means it is tailored for the 21st century voting.

Arson: Finally, in California, someone lit a ballot box on fire.
Rate: 10/10 – Definitely the best tactic. Pyrotechnical destruction to property and democracy in general? Suppression through arson? Dynamic, exciting, completely creative.

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