MYTH: Early Voting Days, Hours, and Locations Must Be Reduced.

Early voting is a recent phenomenon, and we know that African Americans in the last election cycle in particular disproportionately made use of it. However, the curtailment of voting opportunities for minority communities is nothing new. The 1981 U.S. Civil Rights Commission noted that election administrators moved polling places away from black voters to more distant locations, leading to objections by the Department of Justice in several states.

Until the passage of the NVRA, in-person registration was still ordinarily required; there would be only one registration office in an entire county, with limited hours; and there would be no such offices in minority neighborhoods.

The tactics this year are just as blatant. Florida has specifically cut out the last Sunday before the election—the day that African American churches t have used to get members out to vote en masse in recent elections. In Ohio, attempts to curtail early voting statewide has led to the incredible result that early voting stations in Ohio’s heavily Democratic (and minority) counties will only be open between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., while those in Republican counties will allow voting on nights and weekends.

This is the fifth part of a series on the history of voter suppression. Tova Andrea Wang's new book, the Politics of Voter Suppression, is out now.

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