A primary was held in Arizona this week for the upcoming presidential election, and it was a prime example of how dismal the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has become at promoting easy and ethical voting. After some Democratic voters waited over five hours to vote, many found that when they tried to vote in the closed primary, they were registered as Independent or Republican, and were unable to vote.
To add insult to injury, the number of polling places in Arizona decreased significantly, going from over 200 locations in 2012 compared to just 60 during Tuesday’s primary. The only explanation was that this was a measure to cut costs, but democracy shouldn’t be hindered for the sake of cost efficiency.
We should not accept this as an unfortunate truth and move on. This is the first presidential election I am able to vote in, and it is unacceptable that I have to worry about whether or not my vote will even be valid because of disorganized and understaffed primaries across the country.
This election cycle has been marked by xenophobia, racism and homophobia, we cannot afford for a lack of preparedness to effectively silence the American voice. This kind of voter oppression should not be tolerated. Voting is not a privilege you earn for standing in line for five hours: it is an absolute right, and any time that right is threatened, it should be taken very seriously.
The author fails to mention an important fact. The reason for the long lines in Arizona is because the Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in 2013. When Republicans won control of state legislatures across the country in 2010 and 2014 they moved to put into place laws that limited voter access. The Washington Post posted a great article today on this issue.