People often complain about rigged or inefficient polling stations after their desired nominee loses an election. The frustration of unsatisfied voters often causes widespread anxiety and panic about governmental and institutional corruption that unfairly led to the downfall of their nominee. This concern can be exaggerated, but often it is completely warranted. Recent incidents at polling stations on Election Day exemplify how vulnerable our election system is to voter suppression.
Though a crucial state for a nominee to gain electoral votes, voters in Florida experienced intimidation and fear mongering at some polling stations. At one station in Hollywood, Fla, voters were met with, “aggressive individuals hovering around individuals as they approach the polling site,” according to The Washington Post. Some voters left the area without casting a ballot because they felt unsafe.
Additionally, an “unauthorized individual” who refused to leave the building disturbed a polling station in a predominantly black precinct in Jacksonville, Fla. Although the intentions of this individual are vague and possibly unknown, it is unsettling to witness or to experience disciplinary action and security protection in action at the polls.
Voter intimidation and attempted voter suppression has existed as long as our democratic process has existed, and it is frightening that many people do not follow laws against it. The easiness with which a dangerous person can potentially arrive at a polling station and harm voters before help or security arrives is a giant flaw in our election organization.
While a switch to completely digital or remote voting is discouraged because of technology concerns, the protection of the right to vote is questioned and challenged for people who experience problems at the polls. Politicians and activists have recognized this failing time and time again, yet it is unclear how we can formally improve or restructure our process.
It would be incredibly unfortunate if election results were dramatically changed because of problems at polling stations. Now that the presidential election has come and gone, we can work toward improving our polling systems just in time for the midterm elections.