Vote suppression

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Vote suppression is any action which selectively reduces the net effectiveness of voting attempts by members of one or more demographics. Going way beyond just "not allowing [certain people] to vote", it covers a wide range of deceptive and coercive methods and aggregate manipulation at every stage of the process.

Methods include:

  • voter-roll purges (see SourceWatch)
    • vote caging: Mail marked "Do Not Forward" is sent to voters in a certain demographic, or in areas that vote heavily for the other party; if the letter is returned as undeliverable, voters at that address are added to a "challenge list" or removed from the voting rolls. This penalizes people for moving, if they are in those demographics or areas.
  • reduced access to polls and voting methods
    • limiting hours/days for early voting
    • increasing restrictions on mail-in voting
    • voter ID requirements (oppressed communities have less access to documentation)
    • reducing the number of polling stations located in areas heavy with oppositional demographics
  • voter intimidation
  • voter misinformation (e.g. phone calls claiming to accept votes by phone, or giving misinformation about where and when to vote)
  • aggregate manipulation
    • gerrymandering: demographics likely to vote oppositionally have a small number of districts drawn around them, so that their larger numbers affect the results in fewer districts, with a net result of counting less in the larger tally
    • The US Electoral College is arguably a form of aggregate manipulation, but it has been in place since the US was founded, and there are efforts underway to remove it or make it more fair.
  • legal subversion: laws are passed to allow one party to essentially control elections by arbitrarily ruling them fraudulent and finding in their own favor (see: Donald Trump/self-coup)


For at least the last few decades, US Republicans have favored these methods – justifying them as necessary to fight voter fraud, which has never been known to change the outcome of an election of any size, while the measures themselves are clearly affecting elections at the highest levels. Republicans have repeatedly been caught admitting that their real intention is to win elections at any cost, since their agenda is falling more and more out of popular favor as it becomes more and more driven by fearmongering and other emotional appeals and less and less by reality.



Bills / Laws

  • 2022, US/AZ: US/AZ/bill/2022/HB/2596: allows the state legislature to reject election results, while also restricting access to voting
  • 2013, US/NC: H451 vote-suppression bill
    • 2013-04-03 Bob Geary @ IndyWeek: The common good is in the way of Republican goals: this bill would -
      • cut early voting from two weeks to one
      • eliminate same-day registration
      • abolish straight-ticket voting
      • ban voting on Sunday, a move meant to quash the "Souls to the Polls" drives in African-American churches
      • makes absentee ballots so absurdly easy that it invites distribution of ballots with choices already filled in


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