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New poll commissioned by Craig Newmark Foundation finds disproportionate impact of voting restrictions on non-white and young voters. (Stock image)
Craig Newmark Foundation
Published: 14 December 2016

WASHINGTON (PRNewswire) -- A new poll commissioned in the wake of the Presidential election by the Craig Newmark Foundation shows that efforts by some states to restrict access to the voting booth both legalistically and procedurally has had a disproportionate impact on non-white and younger voters. The poll, conducted both in states where voter restrictions have been introduced and those where they have not, suggests ways that the voices of people of color and younger voters have been effectively suppressed.  An infographic detailing the poll's findings is available here.

"If we want a healthy democracy, we should be making it easier for everyone to vote, not harder," said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist, whose Craig Newmark Foundation sponsored the poll. "Long lines, restrictions on early voting, challenges by poll workers, registration glitches -- all of it adds up to stifling a whole lot of people who both want to participate and have a right to participate."

"America's voting system is crumbling under the weight of outdated technology and unfair new voting restrictions. It's time to come together to fix it," added Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. "We need to invest in our critical election infrastructure.  New voting machines should be a top priority to boost security and reduce congestion at the polls.  Automatic voter registration would help streamline our elections, adding millions to the rolls and increasing accuracy."

Key poll findings include:

* Nearly 1 out of 3 voters of all races (31%) said they couldn't get time off from work to vote. It was even more often the case for Blacks (41%) and Hispanics (34%), but only 30% for Whites.  

* Hispanic voters were two times more likely to wait in line for 30-60+ minutes to vote than White voters were.

* 14% of Hispanic voters said their eligibility to cast a vote was questioned by officials – the same percentage as White and Black voters combined.

*While many eligible voters of all races intentionally did not vote, there were significant numbers of potential voters who wanted to cast a ballot but for various reasons were unable to. This included, among those who didn't vote, nearly half of Hispanic voters (47%) and (42%) of Blacks, as compared to less than a third (29%) of Whites.

* Black and Hispanic voters were nearly two times more likely than White voters to have their eligibility challenged and required to submit provisional ballots.

* Among voters of all races, the age-group most frequently asked to submit provisional ballots were Millennials -- almost 1 out of 4 (24%) were challenged. By contrast, only 6% of Boomers and 2% of Silent/Greatest voter groups were required to submit provisional ballots.

* Two times more Hispanic voters than White voters were harassed or called derogatory names before the election. With Facebook being where the harassment/name-calling took place. And most harassment came from family and friends.

The poll was conducted by Rad Campaign and Lincoln Park Strategies in late November and polled 3,050 Americans online and 450 Americans by phone in TexasFloridaNorth CarolinaOhioWisconsin, and Arizona, as well as the following counties: Mecklenburg(NC), Harris (TX), Orange (FL), Duval (FL), and Broward (FL). California and Minnesota voters were also polled as control states.  

SOURCE Craig Newmark Foundation

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