But what about the votes that don’t count? What about the systematic attempts to erect barriers between voters and the ballot box? What about voter suppression?
In order to educate, document and mobilize action, I’m excited to introduce the Voter Suppression Wiki.
– Baratunde Thurston, Announcing The Launch Of The Voter Suppression Wiki – Learn, Report, Act on Jack and Jill Politics
In May, I was on a panel on e-Deceptive campaign practices at the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference, and all the panelists agreed that with partisan feelings high and the polls likely to be close, this election would be particularly nasty from a voting rights perspective. Sure enough, potential issues are already cropping up: absentee ballot applications sent to voters with the wrong return addresses, a lawsuit in Wisconsin likely to cause incredibly-long lines at the polls, another suit in Ohio attempting to prevent people from voting when they register, misleading warnings from county officials in Virginia with the apparent purpose of discouraging college students from registering, and apparent plans to use foreclosure lists to challenge voters in Michigan that’s sparked a lawsuit from the Obama campaign. And it’s only September!
Many forms of voter suppression* revolve around voter registration: voter caging and other ways of purging legitimate voters from databases, discouraging or preventing people from registering. Others focus on preventing registered voters from actually voting: spreading false information about polling places, not providing enough ballots, intimidating rumors such as “you’ll be arrested if you have any outstanding parking tickets,” and poll workers not respecting voters’ rights.