ESPN: Democrats Are Vote-Suppression Champions


Democrats are far ahead of Republicans in self-serving efforts to suppress voting by their political rivals, says a University of California professor.

“The Democratic Party is the champion of voter suppression,” Sarah Anzia, a professor at the University of California, told ESPN’s Five Thirty Eight site.

Democrats suppress voting by scheduling local elections at very odd times to maximize inconvenience to busy voters, she argue. This scheduling persuades most voters to ignore the election, and ensures that only the most directly impacted — such as city workers, cops, teachers — turn out to vote. The data shows that his strategy helps keep teachers’ unions powerful and city workers’ salaries high.

When school boards and other municipal offices are up for election at odd times, few run-of-the-mill voters show up at the polls, but voters with a particular interest in these elections — like city workers themselves — show up in full force. The low-turnout election allows their policy goals to dominate. Anzia shows that off-cycle elections lead to higher salaries and better health and retirement benefits for teachers and public employees.’

The report uses New Jersey’s election schedules as an example:

The election calendar in the United States is an insane mess. Exhibit A is New Jersey. New Jersey holds federal elections with the rest of the country on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of even-numbered years. But elections for state office in New Jersey are held in November of odd-numbered years. School district elections are held on the third Tuesday in April or else in November. And fire district commissioner elections are held on the third Saturday in February.

The new report undermines the claim by Democrats that they are champions of voting rights and contradicts their claim that they try to break down barriers to voter participation.

For decades, Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to suppress voter rights due to the GOP’s support of Voter ID Laws. For example, the leading Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, has accused Republicans of wanting to return to the era of Jim Crow laws to suppress voting in America.

The story concludes by suggesting to Hillary Clinton that she “look in the mirror” before accusing Republicans of voter suppression.

Earlier this year, Hillary Clinton made a speech about voting rights in which she said, “Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting. What part of democracy are they afraid of?” For Democrats like Clinton who are apparently aghast at Republican efforts at voter suppression, today is a good day to take a look in the mirror.


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