Like so many Americans, I am look forwarding to casting my ballot in this year’s midterm elections. I am excited to vote for candidates who will fight for climate action, our democracy, our constitutional rights, and for a better, more just future for us all.
I live in Jefferson County, Colorado, and this morning I read a shocking statistic in my local news outlet. The outlet reports, “In Jefferson County alone, there are 36 drop boxes throughout the county. Almost 90% of Jeffco voters use the drop boxes to vote. Stern said a very small percentage use the actual mail and about 5% actually vote in person. All drop boxes are open 24/7 and they’re all on 24/7 surveillance.”
When I read that 90% of my community (which is 91% white) casts their ballots via drop box and that only 5% vote in person, I couldn’t help but think, with great sadness, of the new voting law in Georgia that severely restricted access to drop boxes.
For this year’s primary election, my partner and I received our ballots in the mail and we filled them out at home. Then, after work, we walked to our local library and dropped our ballots off together at the outdoor drop box. It was honestly a very pleasant experience. A literal walk in the park.
This convenient voting experience would not have been possible under Georgia’s new law because the law bans drop boxes from being located outdoors where they are accessible to voters 24/7. Instead, under this law, drop boxes must be kept inside specific locations that are only open during specific hours of the day.
The effect of voter suppression laws like the one passed in Georgia is clear. Voter turnout is significantly higher in Colorado, year after year after year, than it is in Georgia where it is just plain harder to vote – especially for voters of color and individuals living in Democratic districts. And make no mistake – there is a clear and discernable pattern of racial targeting and discrimination in these Republican passed laws.
This November, as we see images of long voting lines and hear horror stories of people traveling great distances and going through great hardships just to cast their ballots – double down on your commitment to justice. Vote for candidates who will fight to expand voter access. Together, we can make a difference.
Photo: City of Westminster, CO