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Voter Suppression in Ohio Targeted Minority Voters in the 2016 Election

For the week leading up to the one-year anniversary of the 2016 elections, VICE Impact will be featuring facts that illustrate a broken electoral system in America, and how the nation can do better.

by Impact Staff
Nov 6 2017, 8:15pm

Tallulah Fontaine

Both of Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 historic presidential election wins featured a higher number of voter turnout than normal, particularly from racial minorities. But since then, several states have created stricter voter participation laws that effectively weakened the minority vote. For example, in 2014, Republican lawmakers in Ohio eliminated an early voting and voter registration period called "Golden Week," when black voters were five times more likely to vote.

Voter suppression has been a major issue for minority voters since the post-Civil War Reconstruction era. Black and minority voters have consistently been intimidated from going to the polls and before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 those that did try to cast a ballot were often thwarted by undemocratic and racists tactics — known as the Jim Crow laws— to prohibit them from voting. Both political parties were to blame for the proliferation of Jim Crow and it wasn't until the Voting Rights Act during President Johnson's administration that people of color could participate in elections as full citizens without being legally undermined.

Although Jim Crow may be a thing of the past, election laws that require voter IDs, don't allow for criminal re-enfranchisement and ban same-day registration are all forms of suppression that mainly keeps people of color from exercising their constitutional right to vote.


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