Black voters wary of voting by mail

 thehindu.com  08/02/2020 16:22:26 

Despite fears that the COVID-19 will worsen, Victor Gibson said hes not planning to take advantage of Michigans expanded vote-by-mail system when he casts his ballot in November.

The retired teacher from Detroit just isnt sure he can trust it. Many black Americans share similar concerns and are planning to vote in person on Election Day, even as mail-in voting expands to more States.

For many, historical scepticism of a system that tried to keep black people from the polls and worries that a mailed ballot wont get counted outweigh the prospect of long lines and health dangers from a virus thats disproportionately affected communities of colour. Ironically, suspicion of mail-in voting aligns with the views of President Donald Trump, whom many black voters want out of office.

I would never change my mind about voting in person in November, said Mr. Gibson, who is black and hopes Mr. Trump loses. I always feel better sliding my ballot in. Weve heard so many controversies about missing absentee ballots.

Decades of disenfranchisement are at the heart of the uneasy choice facing black voters. Widespread problems with mail-in ballots during this years primary elections have added to the scepticism at a time when making black voices heard has taken on new urgency during a national reckoning over racial injustice.

Patricia Harris of McDonough, Georgia, voted in person in the primary and said she will do the same in November. In Georgia, roughly 12,500 mail-in ballots were rejected in the States June primary, while California tossed more than 1,00,000 absentee ballots during its March primary.

Reasons vary, from ballots being received after the deadline to voters signatures not matching the one on file with the county clerk.

Multiple studies show that mail-in ballots from black voters, like those from Latino and young voters, are rejected at a higher rate than those of white voters.

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