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What Voter Suppression Looks Like

Voters filing in and out at the Allston branch of the Boston Public Library. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Voters filing in and out at the Allston branch of the Boston Public Library. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

We look at voting rights in the United States. What happens when Americans are robbed of their right to vote?


Alexa Ura, associate editor and demographics reporter at The Texas Tribune. (@alexazura)

Sam Levine, voting rights reporter at The Guardian. Lead reporter on The Guardian’s series “The Fight to Vote.” (@srl)

Francesca Erwin, graduate student and research assistant studying mass communication at the University of Houston.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst. (@JackBeattyNPR)

From The Reading List

Alexa Ura’s reporting on voting rights:

Sam Levine’s reporting on voting rights:

Houston Public Media: “‘It’s Worth It’: The Last Person In Line At TSU Waited Six Hours To Vote On Super Tuesday” — “He gained national attention through his tenacity at a local polling place, refusing to leave even after others might have: Hervis Rogers was the last man to vote at his Texas Southern University polling place early Wednesday morning, and possibly the last person to cast a ballot in the State of Texas when he did so around 1 a.m.

“Rogers, who works two jobs, arrived at the polls just before 7 p.m., and his roughly six-hour wait was tough, he said. But that didn’t stop him.

“’It is insane, but it’s worth it,’ Rogers said while waiting in line. ‘I mean, I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t vote. I feel like it’s— I voice my opinion, but it don’t feel right if I don’t vote. So I said, ‘I’m going to take a stand and vote. It might make a difference.'”

The Hill: “Long voting lines in Texas renew accusations of voter suppression” — “The last voter at Texas Southern University (TSU), a historically black public college in Houston, left the booth after 2 a.m. on March 4, seven hours after he got in line on Super Tuesday.

“Many other black and Latinx Texans shared the same experience, and by the morning after the state’s primary elections, #VoterSuppression was trending on Twitter, with almost 20,000 tweets by 10 a.m.

“Dozens of extra voting machines were sent to TSU and some other locations as lines in some precincts were estimated to be several hours long. While some, including Rogers, waited, others did not.”

Miami Herald: “Opinion: They really,really don’t want black people to vote, do they?” — “Six hours is a good, long time. You could do a lot of things in six hours. You could drive from San Francisco to L.A. You could finish an audiobook. You could clean out a garage, paint a room, watch three movies. Or you could vote.

“It took a man named Hervis Rogers that long to do so in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. He did not leave his polling place in Houston until 1:30 Wednesday morning — the last person to cast his ballot. ‘I wanted to get my vote in to voice my opinion,’ he told KTRK, a local TV news station. ‘I wasn’t going to let anything stop me, so I waited it out.’

“And if you’re wondering why Rogers had to go through that ordeal just to vote, the answer is simple: He is a black man in America. More to the point, he’s a black man in a Southern state with a sordid history of disenfranchising voters of color.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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