COVID-19 Response: Invisible Problems

COVID and In-Person Voting

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COVID creates a few issues surrounding in-person voting. First, it makes voting unsafe due to the close proximity of voting lines as well as the extended period of interaction while waiting in those lines. It also is an issue considering the large number of people that vote at each polling location. This will discourage voters form making it to the polls. Secondly, it generally makes lines much longer. With cities and states closing polling stations in urban areas, like Milwaukee for example, there is a disproportionate effect on Black and low income voters. Those who have to wait until after work may struggle to get to the few open polling stations in time, and also may not have the time to wait in the long lines that the polling stations create. The polling stations that have stayed open have also been concentrated in wealthier areas. This creates another issue in terms of the time it takes for lower income voters to get to the polls. A Brennan Center for justice study showed that the closing of polls in Milwaukee led to an over 10% decrease in Black voter turnout. This is also on top of the decrease in Black voter turnout due to avoiding the virus.

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Idea No. 53