“Two Polling Places, Both Inside Police Stations”

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 18 2014 6:59 PM

“Two Polling Places, Both Inside Police Stations”

It might be gauche to tut-tut the Huffington Post about something and then direct readers to a listicle, but gauche times call for gauche measures. The NAACP's legal defense fund is out with a report that collates every notable example of post-Shelby voter reform in what used to be pre-clearance states. The trend? Well, it's not making voting easier for anyone. Three highlights, which I hadn't seen in the churn of coverage of these issues.

- "The city of Athens (Georgia) considered eliminaing nearly half of its 24 polling places, and replacing them with only two early voting center -- both of which would be located inside police stations."

- Kansas lawmakers "propose reenacting voting provisions – previously blocked by voter referendum – that would allow counties to purge people from the permanent early voter list, a list that counties use to mail ballots prior to every election to individuals, who, after marking their ballot, mail them back or take them to a polling place."

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- "The Board of Elections in Forsyth County, North Carolina, considered, but tabled, two proposals that would have (1) placed security officers at the County’s one-stop early voting site, and (2) collected information from individuals or organizations returning voter registration forms."

In each case you've got an idea that sounds sensible to someone—someone who's bottled it up for years, often—and crumbles like week-old bread when it's exactly examined. That's a positive sign, though the rush to pass those laws suggests, retroactively, some wisdom of pre-clearance.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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