AUDIO: Voting Rights Experts Discuss Poll Closure Epidemic in Arizona
New report finds 320 poll closures in Arizona since 2012
WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference Education Fund held a telebriefing today to discuss the staggering number of polling place closures in Arizona, a state with a long history of racial discrimination in its election system. The Education Fund’s recently released report, “Democracy Diverted: Polling Place Closures and the Right to Vote,” found that 13 states shuttered 1,688 polling places since the 2012 general election cycle.
“Some polling place closures may be valid. But we must recognize that often the very same states closing polling places are also pushing discriminatory voting measures, including barriers to registration, voter purges from the rolls, and photo ID requirements,” said Leigh Chapman, voting rights program director at The Leadership Conference Education Fund. “This larger constellation of discrimination at the ballot box, coupled with the sheer number of closures identified in our report, demands immediate action. Congress must pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) to restore the preclearance system of the Voting Rights Act and ensure we have the tools we need to address racial discrimination in voting.”
“In every election since 2013, we’ve seen evidence of voter confusion and long lines that indicate significant barriers to the ballot that must be removed so that every voice is heard,” said Alex Gulotta, Arizona state director for All Voting is Local. “Voting shouldn’t be confusing. When one voter has trouble at the polls, that problem ripples throughout the system, increasing wait times, overwhelming poll workers, and causing would-be voters to walk away from long lines without ever casting a ballot.”
The audio recording of this call is available here.
The full report can be found at democracydiverted.org.
The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. For more information on The Education Fund, visit civilrights.org/edfund/.
All Voting is Local fights to eliminate needless and discriminatory barriers to voting before they happen, to build a democracy that works for us all. It is a collaborative campaign housed at The Leadership Conference Education Fund, in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; the American Constitution Society; the Campaign Legal Center; and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. For more information about All Voting is Local, visit https://allvotingislocal.org and follow us on Twitter @votingislocal.