Republican efforts to suppress minority votes appear to be working

Voting booths sit at a New York City Board of Elections voting machine facility warehouse, November 3, 2016 in the Bronx borough in New York City. Photograph:( Getty )

WION New Delhi Nov 07, 2016, 12.12 AM (IST)

Advanced voting among African Americans in North Carolina is down by 8.7 per cent from last year, according to Michael McDonald, an Associate Professor at the University of Florida who specialises in American elections.

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This comes as US District Judge Loretta Biggs slammed a still-continuing North Carolinan voter purge during a hearing Wednesday, telling county attorneys that she was "horrified" by the "insane" process by which residents could be removed from the registered list of voters without their knowledge, Slate reports. "This sounds like something that was put together in 1901", she said, which as Slate reminds us was when the state used Jim Crow laws to prevent black citizens from voting.

CBS reports that the comments came during an emergency hearing over allegations raised by the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) that at least three counties in the state are being purged unfairly in a process that targets African Americans. 

Lawyers for North Carolina countered that state data shows that in the last two years fewer than 7,000 statewide out of a total of 6.8 million registered voters have been purged.

Meanwhile, McDonald says that the lower numbers in one state are not represenative of African American eagerness to vote overall. In Georgia, the same number has gone up by a considerable margin.

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But North Carolina wasn't the only crucial state to experience longer than normal waits for minorities. Also affected was Cincinnati, Ohio, who are expected to vote Democrat.

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This fits a trend. As the New York Times reported in a 2014 piece on the same topic, "Some of the longest lines on Election Day occur at polling places in black and Hispanic neighbourhoods."

A conclusion reached after examining a study by the Brennan Center for Justice was decisive: "There was a clear relationship in those states between the racial makeup of a precinct and the number of voting machines it received from the state."

This week, the New York Times even published on their website an interactive game called "The Voter Suppression Trail", allowing users to try to overcome various obstacles in order to cast a vote, while playing as an African American or Latino character.

This controversy surrounding voter suppression comes as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has warned -- without foundation, but repeatedly -- that the 2016 US election is "rigged" to favour Hillary Clinton. 

 (WION)