Exclusive VICE News analysis shows a 20% cut in election locations nationwide, and much deeper cuts in California, Maryland, Kentucky, New Jersey, Nevada and North Dakota.
Almost 21,000 Election Day polling places have been eliminated heading into the 2020 U.S. election, a drastic dip in voting locations driven by a heavy shift to mail voting, coronavirus-related consolidations, cost-cutting measures, and voter suppression.
VICE News obtained data from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., on the number of physical polling locations they will have in place on November 3, and compared their numbers to how many sites they had in 2016 and 2012.
What emerged was a patchwork of cuts large and small across the country. Many states made these cuts as they were expanding mail voting — 23 states made it easier to vote by mail this year because of COVID. But the overall trend is clear: Most states are eliminating polling locations, a trend that could disproportionately impact poor, young and non-white voters.
Of the 45 states that weren’t using mail voting exclusively before the 2020 election, 40 of them have decreased the number of Election Day voting locations from 2016. Of those 40 states who made cuts, 35 are not sending mail ballots to everyone, and 19 require many voters to take it upon themselves to apply for a mail ballot application. The five states that refused to allow mail voting for most people all cut voting sites, including the emerging swing state of Texas.
The net result of all of these changes: A 20% dip in polling places across the country from 2016, and a 22% drop since 2012. And while the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated this trend, it didn’t create it: There were more than 3,000 fewer polling locations in 2016 than in 2012.
“Closing this many polling places at such a vast scale really does affect voters. Fewer polling places can lead to longer lines, longer wait times, and hurt people, particularly people who are disabled or don’t drive and rely on public transportation,” said Leigh Chapman, the voting rights program director at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
There is much more at the link above. How is this democratic? Is it not more authoritarian? Much more a dictatorship protecting their power? Hugs