Blacks and Hispanics Waited Nearly Twice As Long to Vote in 2012 than Whites
An analysis conducted at MIT found that black and Hispanic voters waited almost twice as long to vote in the 2012 election as their white counterparts. The following graph, created by the New York Times, shows that they waited for an average of 20.2 minutes whereas white voters waited an estimated 12.7 minutes.
But that’s only the nationwide average. Another analysis cited by the Times finds that waiting times varied from state to state with Florida coming in first with lines averaging 45 minutes long. Next was DC, Maryland, South Carolina and Virginia.
Other factors that correlated with longer waits times included party affiliation and the districts population size:
Several recent polls and studies suggest that long waiting times in some places depressed turnout in 2012 and that lines were longest in cities, where Democrats outnumber Republicans. In a New York Times/CBS News poll taken shortly after Election Day, 18 percent of Democrats said they waited at least a half-hour to vote, compared with 11 percent of independents and 9 percent of Republicans.
A separate analysis, by an Ohio State University professor and The Orlando Sentinel, concluded that more than 200,000 voters in Florida “gave up in frustration” without voting.
The take away from these analyses is that voter suppression tactics were wildly successful at disenfranchising minorities who happen to vote overwhelmingly Democrat. Republican state legislatures from Florida to Ohio cut early voting hours, instituted voter ID laws and purged thousands of voters from the voting rolls.
Don’t let the average wait times fool you. Twenty minute in line may seem like no big deal, but the reality is that some people waited up to six hours to vote.
Despite the inefficiency of our voting system, certain states are continuing to make it more difficult for certain people to vote. For example, Virginia’s GOP-led state legislature is trying to tighten the state’s already strict voter ID law. In case you have any doubts about who the target of this new law is, just consider the forms of identification that can be used.
The News & Advance reports that Virginia’s new ID law “would eliminate the use of a utility bill, pay stub, bank statement, government check and Social Security card as acceptable identification that can be presented at the polls. Voters would still be able to use a voter identification card, concealed handgun permit, driver’s license and student ID card.”
You see? A Social Security card isn’t enough to prove your identity, but a conceal carry license is. It makes perfect sense! That is, if you’re trying to ensure your new ID laws keep poor minorities from the polls without affecting white conservatives.