Voter intimidation hinders modern suffrage

VOTER INTIMIDATION: Vigilantes attempt to suppress votes. cbsnews

Chloe Gerhard | Writer

November 4, 2022

From armed vigilantes watching and intimidating voters at ballot drop boxes to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about voting machines and the counting of votes, the midterm elections of 2022 are building up to be one of the most volatile in recent history.

This issue does not have enough attention brought to it, “I’ve heard that there’s been voter intimidation this year. I’d like to learn more about it” says junior Bella Dahlquist.

Voter suppression and voter intimidation have been around in American elections at varying degrees since its founding. Since the writing of the constitution to today, different groups have attempted to use voter suppression and intimidation to gain power or keep power. One of the earliest examples being the early days of America when only wealthy white landowners could vote. They kept their power by suppressing the vote of marginalized groups.

Today, our country is divided down party lines more than ever. Tensions are high and there have been numerous reports of voter suppression and intimidation. Last month, Republican state senator Kelly Townsend called for vigilantes to watch people return their ballots to drop boxes. ¨I have been so pleased to hear about all you vigilantes there that want to camp out at these drop boxes¨ Townsend recently stated at a legislative hearing. 

These events concerned many future voters such as junior Sophia Miller, who stated that “As a teen who will be able to vote, it is very important to me that everyone has safe access to voting and this issue must be paid attention to.”

This week in Shasta County, California reports surfaced of canvassers wearing orange vests and badges that read “Voter Task Force” knocking on doors and asking residents about their voting history and who lived in their houses. This may have broken state intimidation and harassment laws.

SUFFRAGE: Americans exercise right to vote. theskimm

Laws enacted by a political party in power to suppress the vote of the other party can be very damaging as well. This year in Texas there’s a law that restricts the use of drop boxes, rolls back voting hours, and bans the use of apps to obtain an absentee ballot. These types of laws have begun to appear all over the country. They make voting more difficult for specific groups that the party in power wants to suppress.

Free and fair elections are sacred to our democracy. It can’t function properly if voters are intimidated and harassed at the polls or if partisan laws are passed to suppress another group’s access to the polls. Voter suppression in American elections is not new, but if we want to keep our democracy, we need to continue to find new ways to minimize the damage it causes. 

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