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9 August, 2023

Byte Back: Fight Republican Voter Suppression with better technology

icon Early polling locations,Elections,virginia
Technology to counter voter suppression

Voter suppression makes it harder for people to find out where, when and how to vote. Fight back with technology.

Republican voter suppression dirty tricks:
Reduce the number of polling locations forcing voters to travel further and wait longer in line to vote
Announce polling locations with little lead time
Change polling locations at short notice creating confusion
("five days before Ohio’s special election on Tuesday, Aug. 8, polling locations were changed for tens of thousands of voters in Cuyahoga and Summit counties." - Joyce Vance in Civil Discourse)
Offer information only online so it is harder for voters without computers or internet access to get it
Purge voters from the voting rolls without telling them
Create restrictive requirements for Voter ID and make it harder to request absentee ballots

Republican voter suppression tactics and how to counter them with techology

How can technology help counter suppression? Center For Common Ground (CFCG) has launched a system for the upcoming Virginia election that helps voter find early voting locations, when they're open, check their voter registration status and more. The CFCG solution was prepared in two days using Google and esri apps and cost $150.

Technology to fight voter suppression

Tech Solutions to Counter Republican Voter Suppression

How the Center For Common Ground system works

Center For Common Ground designed this system with help from DemLabs to counter common voter suppression tactics. It uses free/affordable software and can be set up in a few days. The system can scale to handle thousands of simultaneous inquiries and uses volunteers at polling locations to update information about wait times to vote. This is how it works:

Volunteers collect details on voting locations in a Google Sheet
This information is integrated with ArcGIS Online to create a real time map.
Volunteers can add/edit information in the Google Sheet as new polling locations are added or others closed.
These updates are immediately reflected on the map.
Volunteers at the polling locations can enter the how long the waiting lines into the Google Sheet.
This allows other voters to see how long the expected wait times are and plan accordingly.
The Center For Common Ground app can be used on any phone or laptop with this link without installing any software.
The app includes links for voters to check their voter registration status, request an absentee ballot and find out about valid forms of Voter IDs in Virginia
The app can be used with this link from a cell phone which overcomes the need to have a broadband internet connection

Fight voter suppression with technology

The link to the Virginia Early Voting locations map was converted to a QR Code and combined with different themed GIFs to make it easier to share.

Don't boo  Vote Virginia

Republican voter suppression in action

"The Ohio special election also previewed some of the same nationwide issues we’re going to see cropping up in 2024, compliments of a Supreme Court that has just about completed the work of gutting the Voting Rights Act, permitting tactics like this: "Just five days before Ohio’s special election on Tuesday, Aug. 8, polling locations were changed for tens of thousands of voters in Cuyahoga and Summit counties."

The secretary of state said the changes happened because so many Ohio polling places are schools, which were closed for the summer. Five days to find out? In a single-issue August election designed to create a major antidemocratic change in the way Ohio’s political process would work going forward? It’s almost as if Republicans hoped there would be low turnout; that would favor those who sought to use the polls to undo democracy." - Civil Discourse

Fight (byte) back against voter suppression

"Always checking your polling place before you go to vote.
Look up the dates of your state primaries and put down a calendar reminder to check and make sure your registration status is active 89 days before both the primary and the general election.
Take a screenshot showing you’re an active voter more than 90 days before the election.
Otherwise, it’s the risk of death by a thousand cuts: change your polling place, change your registration status. All these measures make it a little more difficult for eligible voters to vote, statistically impacting Democrats.
Fight back by preparing early this election season and making sure all of your friends do, too." - Civil Discourse

TakeAway: Fight voter suppression.

Deepak
DemLabs

DISCLAIMER: ALTHOUGH THE DATA FOUND IN THIS BLOG AND INFOGRAPHIC HAS BEEN PRODUCED AND PROCESSED FROM SOURCES BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE, NO WARRANTY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED CAN BE MADE REGARDING THE ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS, LEGALITY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY SUCH INFORMATION. THIS DISCLAIMER APPLIES TO ANY USES OF THE INFORMATION WHETHER ISOLATED OR AGGREGATE USES THEREOF.

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