In an effort to hold onto their political power, Republicans have increasingly turned to voter suppression tactics, such as closing polling places and purging state voter rolls.
As many as 14 million Americans — or 10 percent of active U.S. voters — have been systematically purged from voter rolls in recent years by Republican secretaries of state, according to investigative work by journalist Greg Palast.
Many of these voters are likely unaware that they were removed.
> Immediately after the five Republican appointees on the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, 14 GOP-controlled states moved, within a year (some within days), to restrict access to the vote, particularly for communities of color, students, and retired people.
> In North Carolina, for example, 158 polling places were permanently closed in the 40 counties with the most African American voters just before the 2016 election, leading to a 16 percent decline in African American early voting in that state. An MIT study found that, nationwide, Hispanic voters wait 150 percent longer in line than white voters, and Black voters can expect to wait 200 percent longer in line to vote.
> Meanwhile, Republican secretaries of state across the nation are vigorously purging voters from the rolls (over 14 million, more than 10 percent of America’s active voters, in the past two years, according to investigative reporter Greg Palast).
Between 2012 and 2016, Ohio purged more than 2 million voters, the majority of which were located in heavily African American and Hispanic counties.
Palast has uncovered hundreds of thousands of people across several states who have been removed from the voter rolls:
> Over 90,000 people in largely Democratic parts of Nevada, 769,436 voters purged in Colorado, 340,134 in Georgia, 550,000 in Illinois, a large but as-yet-uncounted list from Nebraska, and 469,000 just purged in Indiana. More are coming in virtually daily, as Palast continues his lawsuits, along with the NAACP and Rainbow Push.
Together with other tactics — like gerrymandering, closing polling places, instituting strict voter ID laws, and eliminating early voting opportunities — purging voters is allowing the GOP to systematically undermine the voice of the American people.