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10 Ways the U.S. Has Kept Citizens From Voting


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Reducing the Number and Hours of Polling Places
People line up at their polling place, St. Stephen's Byzantine Catholic Church, Arizona. The state's main county has steadily reduced the numbers of polling places over the past three election cycles, leading to accusations of voter suppression. David McNew/Getty Images
People line up at their polling place, St. Stephen's Byzantine Catholic Church, Arizona. The state's main county has steadily reduced the numbers of polling places over the past three election cycles, leading to accusations of voter suppression. David McNew/Getty Images

North Carolina, Ohio, and other states have moved in recent years to cut early voting days or hours. That's a move that the GAO's 2014 report concluded was more likely to inconvenience black voters, who tend to favor early voting in person [sources: Wilson, GAO].

Limiting the number of polling places is another tactic. Arizona's Maricopa County, the state's major population center, offered 400 locations in 2008, but reduced that by half in 2012. In 2016, the county only provided 60 polling places for voters for the presidential primary. As a result, voters had to wait in line for as long as five hours in some places [source: Christie and Van Veltzer].

It's unclear just how many voters gave up and went home without voting as a result of the logjam. But one critic, U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Democrat, said that it disproportionately affected minorities and the working poor, who have a harder time finding transportation [source: Christie and Van Veltzer].


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