Project

Battle to the Ballot Box

"Battle to the Ballot Box" focuses on the obstacles to voting in the 2020 Democratic Primary, exploring systemic voter suppression and harsh voter ID laws, as well as the efforts from campaigns and local activists to combat these obstacles to voter participation. After the Supreme Court overturned Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, it became much easier to implement voter ID laws, close down polling station, and change voting procedures without the vetting for fairness from the Department of Justice.

In the early voting states South Carolina, Alabama, and Missouri, there is already a documented rise in voter suppression laws, which most often affects black communities. Black voters are a core constituency of the Democratic Party’s voting base, and this project reports on how the Democrats running for the party nomination recognize the realities of these voting obstacles. With so many candidates running in the primary, the margins for victory are closer than usual and therefore the impact of any voter suppression laws is also much higher.

"Battle to the Ballot Box" also highlights the logistical problems that may occur on a much larger scale in November’s general election, when more people go to vote and every state votes at once.

Six Years After Ferguson, Barriers to Voting Persist

The shooting of Michael Brown in late summer of 2014 started a national conversation about police racism and brutality; and in St. Louis, it started a renaissance of the city’s history of organizing, activism, and engagement in politics. Despite the progress, harsh voter ID laws and socioeconomic and cultural obstacles limit numbers at the polls.