This is what voter suppression looks like

This piece was originally published in the June 10, 2020 edition of CAP Action’s daily newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash


Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight Action, on yesterday’s botched primary election

Trump is tearing our country apart — and top military and diplomatic leaders have finally had enough.

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In the wake of the pandemic, nearly 1 million Georgians applied to vote absentee ahead of Tuesday’s primary election, marking a 2,500% increase from 2016. Many who requested absentee ballots never received them, forcing them to risk their lives to exercise the fundamental right to vote.

In many places, voting machines arrived late, delaying the scheduled time when polls should have opened. Some polling places had to stay open late into the night in order to accommodate voters experiencing long wait times.

Voters in heavily Black neighborhoods waited for hours to cast their ballots. Unfortunately, this is no surprise — Black and Latino voters are generally more likely than their white counterparts to encounter longer wait times when voting.

Citing concerns over the coronavirus, poll workers resigned statewide in droves, leading to shortages. Those who remained were ill-equipped to handle the state’s new voting machines — they received just one hour-long training on how to set up and use the equipment, which many found to be overly confusing.

Stacey Abrams herself was forced to vote in person after receiving her absentee ballot with a return envelope that wouldn’t open.

These are only a handful of the horror stories from witnesses to Georgia’s primary election on Tuesday.

Voting rights advocates are rightly furious with the Secretary of State, who failed to conduct a fair and accessible election. But let’s be clear: This is not just about a single sloppy Secretary of State or an accidental mishandling of one election. What we saw in Georgia yesterday is the 2020 incarnation of an effort to suppress the Black vote that has spanned more than a century.

Georgia’s catastrophic election yesterday was only a trial run of what’s in store for November. Trump’s campaign is pumping millions of dollars into suppressing the vote in court and recruiting a 50,000-strong army of volunteer poll watchers, which have historically been used to intimidate voters and challenge the legitimacy of votes. On top of that, millions of currently and formerly incarcerated people in states like Florida are still facing barriers to the ballot box.

It’s up to us to stay vigilant, fight back against racist voter suppression, and do everything we can to make voting safer and more accessible ahead of the most important election of our lifetimes.


  • Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced that his department would withdraw from contract negotiations with the police union until a thorough review of the agreement is completed. Arradondo said it can be difficult having a third party advocating to keep officers on the streets when they’ve clearly engaged in misconduct.
  • Alexis Johnson, a Black reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, says she was barred from covering protests against police brutality after she tweeted a joke comparing cries of “looting” to the mess consistently left behind after a country star’s rowdy concerts. “As a Black woman, as a Pittsburgh native, as the daughter of a retired state trooper and a retired probation officer, it was a shame I wasn’t able to bring my background to cover this story,” Johnson said. Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Michael Santiago, who is Black, was also inexplicably pulled from covering the protests. A white reporter who says he violated the company’s social-media policy told KDKA he was “treated in a much more lenient manner by newsroom management” than his Black colleagues.


Fair Fight is working to stop voter suppression and prevent what happened in Georgia from happening again. You can donate here.

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