The League Of Women Voters issued a statement on last night’s election and the widespread voter suppression and intimidation that took place.
Here is the statement:
The League of Women Voters congratulates the American people for turning out in record numbers to participate in our democracy.
Unfortunately, in too many cases, voters had to overcome significant barriers that were erected by elected officials and other political operatives. These ongoing threats to voters’ rights are unacceptable.
This is the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. Thousands of eligible voters were purged from the rolls. Onerous voter ID laws prevented eligible voters from casting their ballots. We saw cases of misinformation and intimidation at the polls.
We can and must do better. All year the League has worked in more than 700 communities, in every state, to register and help eligible Americans get ready to vote. In the 2016 election, more than 4 million people used our digital voter resource, VOTE411.org to find the election information they needed.
The League of Women Voters will continue our work to expand participation in the election process and work to give a voice to all Americans.
Tuesday’s election was an ugly throwback to an era before the protection of voting rights. Republicans could only win if the nation’s growing demographic changes were not reflected in the electorate. What voter protection experts witnessed in swing states was a calculated and well thought out plan to suppress and intimidate voters who normally support Democrats.
There is a reason why Democratic turnout dropped to 10-15 million below Obama levels. Part of that reason is that Hillary Clinton is not President Obama. A large and underreported reason is that the Department of Justice had their voter protection toolbox emptied when the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act.
The electorate was smaller in 2016, and that is a problem that Democrats will need to overcome in the future. Donald Trump didn’t flip blue states as much as Republicans reshaped the electorate to their advantage through intimidation and suppression.
The biggest challenge for Democrats in the years to come will be to figure out how to make sure everyone can safely exercise their right to vote.