Voting shouldn't be a privilege only for those with internet connectivity.
How do Republicans make it hard for people without internet access to vote? Deny voting by mail. Remove ballot drop boxes. Provide fewer polling booths so people have to travel further. Only offer voting information online, and deny internet access to those in need. Who's hurt the most? Those without access to the internet access, the elderly and disabled who can't drive and lack good public transport. It's much harder for Americans without internet access to:
- Register to vote online
- Check to see if they have been purged from the voter rolls
- Find their polling locations and when booths will be open
- Learning about candidates and their policies
This blog shows how:
- Poverty, lack of internet access and voter suppression overlap
- How the elderly, disable and those without health insurance are hardest hit
- Republican voter suppression targets Black and Brown communities
- Use tech to help those without internet access check their voting status
- Mobilize The Vote in NorthEast Ohio (NEO) uses an innovative approach
Mapping Republican voter suppression
This map has six layers that you can choose to display and compare:
- Age of people in an area?
- How many have disabilities?
- How many have health insurance?
- How many live below the poverty line?
- How many can access the internet?
- The Senators and Governor for the state?
See the pattern? Do you notice the link between lack of internet, poverty and voter suppression? Imagine if these people could vote for politicians who would represent them and provide resources, rather than just preventing them from voting!
This map was created with ArcGIS Online and Living Atlas. Embed this map in a website with this code: < iframe width="300" height="200" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen src="https://arcg.is/1f9muT0"></iframe>
How the lack of internet access makes it harder to vote
It starts with helping people find out if they are registered to vote. Ohio like other states provides a link where you can check your voting status. How do you check your voting status if you don't have a computer with internet access? Or cannot drive to the county office to get voting information? Nor have a lot of time to hold on the phone to request voting information?
Mobilize The Vote in NorthEast Ohio (NEO) is a nonprofit whose volunteers help community residents learn about voting requirements, check their voting status, and see if they are about to be purged from the voter rolls. Volunteers have a hard time when they cannot access the internet to look up publicly available voting information. It's worst in rural areas, low income housing communities and retirement homes that have poor cell coverage.
Mobilize The Vote NEO is completely volunteer run nonprofit. They needed a solution that was affordable, easy to use and would let volunteers help the person they were meeting with check their voting status without internet access. Volunteers now take a copy of the voter file with them on a regular tablet computer that costs about $100 and works without internet access so they can see if a person is registered to vote. The voter file is updated automatically when they are back in an area with WiFi coverage. Learn more about the app here.
"Mobilize The Vote NEO is one of 6,000 grassroots Indivisible groups across the country taking action elect progressive leaders, and realize bold progressive policies. Your donation will support the direct costs of our activism in the Cleveland area including materials and supplies for voter registration and engagement, postcards, communication tools, posters, art supplies, snacks, T-shirts, clipboards and transport."
TakeAway: Voting shouldn't be a privilege only for Americans with internet connectivity. Innovate to fight Republican voter suppression.
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