Voter suppression, or procrastinators' punishment? Long waits to vote divide Dems

March 11, 2020, 7:40 AM

Do long lines to vote because of same-day registration backups constitute voter suppression? Depends on who you ask. 

A Bernie Sanders-supporting political coordinator says yes:

A Biden-supporting equivalent retorted:

There were long lines to vote in some college towns, including East Lansing, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo, and college students have been some of Sanders' most fervent supporters. And same-day registration, approved by voters in 2018 and still being adapted to by county clerks around the state, appears to have played a part. But just as the econ paper hastily written the night before it's due is less likely to get a high grade, so too is this alternative to accommodate less-established voters less likely to deliver a satisfying voting experience.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said 13,000 Michigan voters took advantage of same-day registration, almost half after 4:30 p.m., and "we expect that many of these people were young, first-time voters." The number of absentee ballots doubled over the 2016 presidential primary, to nearly 1 million. These new practices were pronounced a success by Benson, who supported Proposal 3 in 2018, which swept them into law.

"While the expansion of our democracy was historic, it also brings with it challenges for the more than 1,500 election clerks across our state," Benson said in her statement to the media.

Best advice for November, when turnout is expected to be massive? Vote no-reason absentee as soon as you can, and save yourself a long wait in line.

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