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Article

4 Nov 2020

Author:
Lucia Tian & Ben Fifield, ACLU

USA: ACLU analysis shows failure to count postal votes would disenfranchise BIPOC voters

“Racial Justice Demands That Every Vote Is Counted”, 28 October 2020

This year, ensuring every mail-in ballot is counted is more important than ever … the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a surge in mail-in voting … Already, 90.7 million absentee ballots have been requested or sent ... Critically, a growing number of people of color plan to vote by mail rather than in-person in this election.

Anticipating this unprecedented surge in absentee ballots, the ACLU Analytics team generated estimates of absentee voting volume by race and candidate support by vote method in every county in the battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia … Our findings identify which counties potentially face the largest racial representation gap — that is, if the absentee ballot count is not completed, they will cause the biggest disenfranchisement of voters of color…

… Failing to fully count the absentee votes in the counties that are home to … metro areas would mean disregarding between 32.9 percent (in Gwinnett County, Georgia) and 61.4 percent (in Washtenaw County, Michigan) of the votes of people of color.

Attempts to suppress the by-mail vote and the voices of voters of color — whether through delays, ballot rejections, or outright interference with the full count — can absolutely change the outcomes of the election this year ... Mishandling or miscounting ballots in these counties could perpetuate the historical disenfranchisement of voters of color with which we are all too familiar.

… This year, discounting the mail-in vote would disenfranchise voters of color and distort the election outcome. Ensuring that every vote — whether cast by mail, early, or in-person on Election Day — is counted must be the responsibility and priority of election officials everywhere. Pundits and politicians don’t decide the outcome of the election — voters do.

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