Voter Registration, ID Laws and Roll Purges

Voter Registration and ID Laws:

The stricter the laws on acceptable forms of personal identification, the more difficult it is for minority groups to cast a ballot. This graphic was last updated on Tue 21 Jan 2020. Graphic by The Guardian
  • Thirty-six states have identification requirements at the polls. Seven states have strict photo ID laws, under which voters must present one of a limited set of forms of government-issued photo ID in order to cast a regular ballot – no exceptions. Over 21 million U.S. citizens do not have government-issued photo identification. (ACLU)
  • A 2018 study found that photo ID laws had the potential to inhibit the right to vote for 78,300 transgender people in eight states alone. 14 states have unclear or burdensome requirements such as a court order, proof of surgery, or an amended birth certificate to change a person’s driver’s license to accurately reflect their gender identity. (HRW)

Voter Roll Purges:

  • A single purge can stop up to hundreds of thousands of people from voting. Often, voters only learn they’ve been purged when they show up at the polls on Election Day… A recent study found that almost 16 million voters were purged from the rolls between 2014 and 2016, and that jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination had significantly higher purge rates. (ACLU) 70% of voters purged from the Georgia rolls in 2018 were black. (HRW)
  • Ohio and six other states have removed from the electoral roll “inactive” voters who fail to return a postal mail residency check. These types of purges can functionally exclude many transgender people, who face high rates of housing insecurity. (HRW)

Long Lines, Closed Polling Centers and Other Barriers to Voting:

Milwaukee County residents line up to vote on 4 April 2020. Photo by Pat A Robinson/Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock
  • In the 2018 midterm elections, more than 200,000 polling places and more than 600,000 poll workers were in use on Election Day. However, recruiting poll workers continues to be a challenge for many states and jurisdictions, with nearly 70% of responding jurisdictions reporting that it was “very difficult” or “somewhat difficult” to obtain a sufficient number of poll workers. (Election Administration and Voting Survey)
  • Across the country, counties with larger minority populations have fewer polling sites and poll workers per voter. (ACLU)
    • Black voters, on average, wait 45% longer to vote than white voters; Latino voters wait 46% longer. (The Atlantic)
  • Black and Latino voters in Florida were more than two times as likely to have their mail-in ballots rejected as white voters—because of a mix of voter error and how the state processes ballots. (The Atlantic)
  • Approximately 38.3 million people with disabilities, nearly the equivalent of the entire population of California, are eligible to vote in the upcoming United States elections. This includes 5.4 million Black and 4.1 million Latinx voters with disabilities. (HRW)
  • One-third of voters who have a disability report difficulty voting. Only 40% of polling places fully accommodate people with disabilities. (ACLU)

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