Voter suppression begins at home

Millions fewer Democrats voted this time.
Was it just because they didn't want to?
From http://imgur.com/TOGIbcP
Not all Americans favor Trump.  In fact, only 25% of eligible voters voted for him; slightly more voted for Clinton.

So stats like those in the NYT exit polls can be very deceptive.  It isn't that 87% of African Americans voted for Clinton, it was 87% of those who did vote voted for her.  And there's a lot of reasons that you might not be able to vote.  A lot of states block people who are in or even have ever been to prison from voting, and I think we all know that unfortunately an enormous number of male African Americans spend at least some time in prison.   So "Black" numbers may be disproportionately female.

New York Times Exit Polls
 Second, the Republicans more generally engaged in massive voter suppression, from ending the Voting Rights Act to shutting down over 400 polling places and eliminating early voting.   According to Vox, Minority voters are 6 times more likely as white voters to wait more than an hour to vote.  Not everyone has that kind of time, so long lines mean fewer votes.

Vox says minority voters are 6x more likely 
to have to wait over an hour to vote.
But what's motivating me to write this blogpost right now is something I haven't seen in the media, but rather in my own experience.  I should have taken a picture, but to be honest I was afraid.  When I went to vote at a school near my house at around 8:30am in a small town of Plainsboro, NJ, there were two older women just leaving.  One said "history!" to the other as she came out of the booth, the other tried to smile.  The poll workers were mostly women and were very grim, which their being grim is not at all usual.  But the main thing was that the room was dominated by a line of extremely grim looking white men waiting to vote.

I often vote when older people vote – I'm an academic with no children, so I often go after commuters have left. I can tell you, normally people come as couples, and normally there are women.

other trump looking at other wifeAlthough I didn't have the guts to visually document what was going on in Plainsboro, other people documented other things elsewhere (I grabbed these pictures from twitter).  It looks very much to me like party leaders were telling men not to trust their wives. I should say that in Plainsboro, you are completely wrapped in a hanging tarp when you vote, so the kind of "mate guarding" in these pictures couldn't happen here.  So maybe that's why the women didn't come along at all.

This lends itself to a very different interpretation of the turnout statistics than "unpopular candidates".  Sure, we all know some people who willingly didn't turn out, but is that enough to explain the turnout stats in the chart at the top of the page?  Maybe voter suppression went beyond the institutional to the domestic.  Maybe a lot of women weren't allowed to vote.

NYT again: it wasn't about income.
By the way, this isn't about income.  I mean, income inequality may be driving political polarization which gets expressed as identity politics, but according again to the NYT, income bracket had no significant impact on who you voted for.  Also, I think people should be paying more attention to the Asian vote.  There are more Asians than Jewish people in America, but you barely read about them.  Plainsboro is nearly 70% Asian, admittedly many aren't yet citizens, but there were no Asians voting when I was there.   As I was leaving, I ran into one lone black woman.

As I was coming in, I enthusiastically greeted a small boy standing with his father at the registration desk who was dressed as Captain America.  "Captain America!"  I said.  He just glared at me.


I initially posted this on 10 November right before a 17 day trip speaking 12 times in 6 countries.  Since then I've been updating it a bit for clarity but not much of substance has changed.  I can't believe that if there really was anything going on I'm the only only one who noticed it – did anyone else notice fewer women and more men than usual in their polling places?
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