The fact that voting lines were disgraceful in many parts of the country is not new, but there’s a growing body of evidence that some Americans wait much longer than others. Taegan Goddard at Political Wire had this item yesterday.
A new paper from MIT professor Charles Stewart finds that African Americans waited an average of 23 minutes to vote in the last presidential election, Hispanics waited 19 minutes and whites waited just 12 minutes.
“While there are other individual-level demographic difference present in the responses, none stands out as much as race. For instance, the average wait time among those with household incomes less than $30,000 was 12 minutes, compared to 14 minutes for those in households with incomes greater than $100,000. Strong Democrats waited an average of 16 minutes, compared to an average of 11 minutes for strong Republicans. Respondents who reported they had an interest in news and public affairs ‘most of the time’ waited an average of 13.2 minutes, compared to 12.8 minutes among those who had ‘hardly any’ interest.”
In the larger context, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, Bob Bauer talked to Rachel last night about the new presidential commission on improving voter access, and he sees the possibility for bipartisan progress on addressing problems like these: “I honestly believe that there is room here within the confines of the commission’s mandate as set out by the president to address these issues on behalf of the voters. And on these particular issues, not on all issues, but on these particular issues we ought to be able to set aside partisan conflict.” Here’s hoping he’s correct.
Second, if the Republican appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court strike down the Voting Rights Act, I hope federal lawmakers will remember charts like these when weighing a new legislative remedy to voting restrictions.
And third, to reiterate a recent point from Jamelle Bouie, if GOP leaders are sincere about minority outreach, they can start by demanding equal voting access for all. How about it, Reince?