Talk:Voter suppression

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Voter suppression:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Expand : expand the article to include more forms of voter suppression. Each section needs a lead that describes the tactics used by the various groups and their motives.
  • Other : globalize; how does voter suppression happen in other countries?


Needs more spin. How about we talk about the Haliburton Hurricane Machine, which was obviously used to wreck Democratic voting New Orleans?

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:56, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

Looking down the list of examples on this article I realized that almost all of them were examples of Republicans taking action against Democrat voters. There was only one example of the opposite in the Jim Crow law section. There's got to be more balanced examples. On a slight side note, the article should spend more time emphasizing the different types of voter suppression instead of examples. Either way, balanced or not, a large example section could lead to a reader feeling that the article is biased. (June 14, 2009)

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:48, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

I felt that the sentence "traditionally, the republican party has suppressed african-american voters and lower class white voters" was baised. A far as I know, the GOP has never made it official policy, although it has happened. In fact, the GOP originally was for increased african-american freedom and was progressive. Any one have a problem? Jonked Nov. 8, 2004

I think your paraphrase of the article was exaggerated, but I have made changes to be clearer on the role of the Republican Party in this issue. Zulitz, November 8, 2004.

I think I got the gist of what the sentence said, even if I got the wording a little wrong. By the way, don't you think we should stick to a less debatable example of voter suppression, perhaps something from elections in Columbia where voter suppression was very obvious? Just a thought. Jonked Nov. 8, 2004

I am more concerned with the practice of making insufficient voting booths or machines available to selected precincts likely to 'vote wrong'. If people in Precinct 228 have plentiful machines and those in precinct 231 have few enough that they must wait in lines that take 5 hours to vote, then that is a form of voter suppression.

So is the chicanery of rigid, time-consuming challenges to all voters that causes delays likely to create long lines or misrepresentation of bars to voting (as in, if you are behind in your rent, or if you have ever received a speeding ticket, then you are denied the right to vote and may be arrested and imprisoned for any attempt to vote).

-- 03:10, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

If the neutrality issue in this article has been resolved the tag should be removed. Thank you! William (Bill) Bean 20:31, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

This article is blatantly one-sided. At least have one example that wasn't written by a conspiracy-minded U.S. Democrat DanBishop (talk) 06:09, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

The article mentions only a few European countries having photo id laws. I am not aware of any that don't have photo ID laws and suspect that only UK might not have it. Certainly the list should include Finland and Estonia. I read the study used as a reference and this conclusively states that photo ID laws do not exist only in Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom (with the exception of Northern Ireland). There are some other examples where there are some alternatives, but those examples seem to indicate merely that there are specific alternatives to photo ID. Also the article mentions that photo id laws usually include infrastructure where these would be provided free. I am not aware of any country where this was true. I certainly know it is not true regarding Finland and Estonia. In the linked study the infrastructure of certain countries is praised, but I didn't find any claims that it is free. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:05, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Questionable additions[edit]

I removed the following new additions (parts in bold) as they are not NPOV or they lack sufficient cititations to back them:

"It is also fairly common to allege voting suppression with very little evidence to attract attention to one political party or cause or cast aspersions on another. For instance, prior to the 2004 elections in the United States, one party issued instructions to local party officials to allege voting suppresion even if no evidence was available, simply to get news coverage."
You should have discussed this here without deleting it. There's nothing in the paragraph that casts a bad light on any particular party. When asking for cites one should place a cite tag in the text, but leave the body of the article alone. Thank you! William (Bill) Bean 20:29, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

A citation supporting this claim should be presented if it is to be added back. Also it should clearly specify which party issued the instructions. .

See above. William (Bill) Bean 20:29, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
"Failure to deliver absentee ballots in a timely manner, especially to military personnel stationed overseas."

Generally, from what I have seen it's more likely for such alligations to be made regarding absentee votors in general and not specifically military votors..

"Misrepresentations of the right to vote of eligible voters, such as warnings that persons who are behind in their payment of rent or have received a traffic ticket are ineligible to vote. It should be noted, however, that all of the warnings that were circulated were hoaxes, perpetuated in ways such as through chain emails."

Thi seems to falsely imply that such a hoax would not be a part of votor suppresion, which is not necessarily true as such hoaxes could indeed be used for such purposes.

"Deliberate under-allocation of voting machines or booths to certain precincts; it should be noted that the counties involved were almost always run by officials of the complaining party, casting doubt on the claim's veracity."

This seems to make certian certian claims and assumptions about how the distribution of voting machines is decided that need to be backed up such as:

  • Where the county voting officials indeed of the complaining party?
  • Even if true, we can't simply assume there was not some deliberate restrictions, say on a statewide level, in regards to the resources the county officials had at the disposal in addressing this issue. Also this does not consider the possibility of a wolf in sheeps clothing (i.e. a members of a party whose loyalty is not with that party but with other interests.).

--Cab88 10:49, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I chose to distinguish voter suppression from other efforts to manipulate the vote; having seen the topic appear and disappear, I concluded that it needed to be addressed in a more decisive manner than simply removing the needless passage. Attempts to change attitudes of voters, including 'negative campaigning' are part of the game. To prohibit such a tactic would be contrary to free speech; furthermore, it would ensure that no politician ever had the chance to call attention to a shady record, suspect affiliations, or inexperience of an opponent. It's up to voters to decide whether negative statements against an opponent are true and relevant. I chose also to exclude such blatant frauds as bribery of voters or manipulation of machines, ballots, or tabulations; they deserve their own treatment in vote fraud.

As a rule, we are discussing questionable efforts to suppress the vote. Some attempted votes, as by underage persons or non-citizens who have no right to vote, persons not legal residents of the place in which they vote, or attempts to make multiple votes, are rightfully suppressed as attempts to commit vote fraud. Persons qualified to vote in a specific district who are kept from voting through some official chicanery are denied a basic right; if enough potential votes are denied, then electoral results may reflect the will of some political hacks instead of the will of the people.-- 01:22, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I added a well sourced example of voter suppression by campaign organizations, namely, the tire slashing of GOP vans during the 2004 election. This is one of the very few examples where people were actually convicted in a court of law for these kinds of activities, and certainly should be in the article.Crockspot 16:07, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Crockpot, thank you for clarifying how the vans were involved in voter suppression. Also, thanks for correcting the references in the article. Kgrr 01:19, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
My pleasure. - Crockspot 01:22, 26 May 2007 (UTC)


In 2004, 5.3 million Americans were denied the right to vote because of previous felony convictions. Thirteen states permanently disenfranchise convicted felons; eighteen states restore voting rights after completion of prison, parole, and probation; four states re-enfranchise felons after they have been released from prison and have completed parole; thirteen allow felons who have been released from prison to vote, and two states do not disenfranchise felons at all.[3] However, for states that do offer a path for restoration of voting rights, the process can often be very difficult.

The United States is the only democracy in the world that bans its felons from voting.

The last sentence is contradicted by the cited statistics, since not all felons are barred from voting. APh8ohph (talk) 21:56, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

There is a certain irony in including Zimbabwe as a country where prisoners can vote. More accurately recently no-one has been allowed to cast a free vote in that country. More significantly we need to distinguish between those countries, such as the U.K., where those convicted of crime actually in prison cannot vote but have civil rights restored on release (even if on parole) and those whose civil rights remain denied after release, such as in parts of the U.S.--Wickifrank (talk) 01:25, 10 October 2008 (UTC)


I am removing the NPOV tag on the article based on significant revisions of the article. If the CURRENT language is still NPOV, please feel free to put the tag back up AFTER you note SPECIFIC problems on the talk page. Please document what exact line of text violates NPOV rather than tagging the whole article.Kgrr 01:37, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, by suggesting the term "voter suppression" only ever applies to illegal activities, the article is trying to be prescriptive rather than descriptive, which is an NPOV issue. It also means this article contradicts the Voter turnout article (where three of the four uses of "suppression" are describing legal activities) and Get out the vote#Negative campaigning and voter suppression.
"Suppress" and "depress" have somewhat similar meanings, and while "depressing voter turnout" would be a better term to use for legal non-coercive actions, 5-10% of the time "voter suppression" is meant to be synonymous with "depressing voter turnout".[1][2][3][4] (possibly because the noun form, "voter depression", can be misunderstood)
The fact is there is a continuum of actions that opponents can take, from completely legal actions to depress voter turnout, to borderline cases that perhaps should be illegal (or likely soon will be, or in other jurisdictions are) but are currently technically legal, to clearly illegal actions. And "voter suppression" is sometimes applied to all three, so the article should take care to include qualifications rather than drawing black-and-white lines where they don't yet exist. --Underpants (talk) 17:40, 20 June 2008 (UTC)


This only has examples from the USA. What about some examples from other nations? Contralya 06:38, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

I think there would be no harm in renaming the article United States voter suppression or something similar. -- Yellowdesk 18:06, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

The reason this article is referencing the USA is that within developed democracies it is not really a problem elsewhere. Problems that occured in Northern Ireland (1920 - 1975) are more properly described as gerrymandering. Problems such have occured in Zimbabwe are more simple political repression.--Wickifrank (talk) 13:28, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Caging and dubious accusations[edit]

It's not at all clear if caging is illegal or unethical, particularly given that its purpose is to weed out fraudulent voter registrations. This is especially relevant because a group well-known for complaining about caging is being investigated for widespread fraudulent voter registrations. Please address this before altering the NPOV notice on this section. Frotz (talk) 03:59, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Caging has been shown to be illegal in many places and in numerous cases, although I would agree that it should be made clear the the law will vary from state to state.

Ohio ruled GOP actions in the 1980s to be illegal, and in fact they are still under a consent decree from Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise barring such "ballot security" programs close to an election. (

Recent measures to use foreclosure notices to remove voters have also run afoul of the law. A foreclosure notice is not proof of an eviction, and many states allow someone evicted to continue to use the address if evicted less than 60 or 90 days before the election. A recent ruling in Michigan ( ruled that this approach to caging clearly violated federal campaign laws.

To argue that caging is never illegal is hogwash. Not all activities labelled as 'caging' is illegal, but there are illegal caging activities, and the Wiki article should reflect that, rather than leave it 'in dispute.' —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:19, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

The above post is mine, sorry I wasn't signed in -- sdrevik —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sdrevik (talkcontribs) 18:21, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

I have removed the NPOV tag, since the section now makes no reference to caging being unethical or illegal. I would suggest adding well-cited, factual information about the legality and/or ethics of caging to the section if appropriate, however I think it may be best to keep such arguments and discussions to the caging list article itself. me_and (talk) 00:19, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

The whole article looks POV to me. It starts with "Voter suppression is a form of electoral fraud" but then discusses issues such as excluding past felons from the franchise, which seems to be legal if not particularly democratic to an non-American. Presumably what it means is "Voter suppression is any attempt by my opponents to reduce the ability of my supporters to vote for me". It could be said that anybody who reduces the ability of others to vote is carrying out voter suppression, whether that is for obvious compliance with democratic systems even if it introduces bureaucratic hurdles (e.g. ensuring people are adult citizens and only vote once), or where there is legitimate argument which might have differential effects (e.g. the exclusion of criminals of one sort or another, or requiring a minimum residency in an area), or where the attempt is more clearly illegitimate (e.g. physically threatening anybody who tries to vote in opponents' locations of support).--Rumping (talk) 14:37, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

July 2009 rewrite to remove POV[edit]

I did a significant rewrite and copy-edit on the page tonight in hopes of making the POV more neutral. Since the topics are disputed, I thought the clearest way would be to remove party affiliations where possible (i.e., where it wouldn't look like "hiding" something), and to phrase discussion of tactics as "proponents" and "opponents." One group believes one thing, the other group believes the opposite.

I also rewrote the introduction to make the concerns on this page clearer, that "suppression" may or may not be "illegal" but broadly refers to the idea of trying to keep people from voting rather than convincing them to vote the way you would prefer.

In the various sections (and I admit, I gave the last section almost no attention), I added text when I thought it was necessary to explain why a described action could be seen as "suppression." For example, I didn't think it was immediately obvious why requiring a photo ID could be argued as targeting minority or elderly voters, so I added text to state that such people may not have photo IDs because they don't need them. I tried to clarify what the phone jamming's intent was, why inequal funding could lead to inequal wait times, and noted that partisan conflicts of appearance may be just the appearance thereof.

The Texas section is kind of contentious, and might be better removed unless someone has evidence to support the contentions of widespread voter fraud. There's a citation for the study saying there were no individual instances and that a million voters don't have photo IDs, but no citations saying there is any voter fraud to be combatted. Without such citations, it's going to appear to have a point of view, but I didn't have any citations to add.

If someone has the data to add a section about the illegality of suppression techniques, including citing both techniques that were found illegal as well as those that were alleged to be illegal but upheld in the courts, I think it would go a long way towards setting the tone of a discussion of the strategy and tactic rather than pointing fingers at who is and isn't trying to engage in it.

I have a point of view on this, but I really hope it didn't come through. (If I didn't have my own point of view, I would know nothing about this and wouldn't feel comfortable trying to help.) I don't think I removed anything significant or reversed any meaning; I only tried to clarify and take individual organizations out where possible. I even changed one section to refer to "other political parties" instead of "the other party" because, in some elections in some places, there are more than two parties.

I'm not married to any of this but, of course, I hope that my first large-scale article contribution attempt won't be indiscriminately reverted. There have been more allegations of voter suppression against Republicans in the US in the past several years than against Democrats, so as long as examples remain a significant part of the article, the quantity of examples alleging Republican wrongdoing may, by itself, present the appearance of a point of view. On the other hand, trying to find an equal number of Democratic examples, or removing Republican examples to match the number of existing Democratic examples, could be viewed as trying too hard to present an "even" perspective when the data supports more current examples from one party.

A statistic from somewhere showing how many allegations of voter suppression were made in a time period, including how many were made against each political party, could establish that there simply are (or are not) more allegations against Republicans lately, and therefore avoid the appearance of POV.

This is my very first long-form talk page contribution, too, and I apologize if adding a new section wasn't right. I'm new at this but thought I could help the article. Mdeatherage (talk) 09:52, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Voting method itself[edit]

Two Party System[edit]

A system whereby voters are presented with two often unqualified candidates of which one will be inevitably elected... so there is no reason to vote for the candidate who could do a good job, because they are not one of the ones nominated by one of the party.

Electoral College[edit]

muddles the voting process enough that it confuses and disenfranchises votors

Additional State Legislation (USA)[edit]

In North Carolina, USA, at least, recent additional state legislation requires that students at colleges and universities vote from their home precincts. Not exactly convenient to leave during the week -- especially if home is very far away. ....Isn't an absentee ballot an option? Nope. Now in North Carolina, you must vote from your home district at least once before you can do an absentee ballot. This in fact disenfranchises most students who are now participating in their first presidential election, due to their age.

As a partisan observation, student turnout for the 2008 election was a significant determinant for a state that traditionally leans Republican; the law was sponsored by a Republican in the NC State House of Representatives. Many students tend to vote Democrat, but of course, the laws apply equally to all voters.

This may be a minor (or too specialized) an example with minimal documentation and historical impact. Hence, rather than editing, I'm leaving it in the Talk page for others' consideration. Gprobins (talk) 09:42, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

A section focused on empirical evidence of voter suppression?[edit]

Maybe consider adding a section devoted to data on the number of alleged voter suppression or intimidation acts. I feel this would add an element of authentication to the article. I think it would be relatively painless to find this data and the evidence would be very useful in informing readers on whether suppression is real or just perceived. --Acowan360 (talk) 01:40, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

American Center for Voting Rights not a neutral source[edit]

I added a bit of background from the Wikipedia article on the American Center for Voting Rights, linked to it, and marked its claim for violating NPOV. Any claims that it made concerning voter suppression are suspect. Independent confirmation would be needed. Please review, and if necessary we can delete this paragraph.

Here are some references on voter suppression, and the opposing argument on supposed Voter Fraud. I don't have time to mine all of the instances of voter suppression that they report. I leave it to others to determine whether these accounts are authoritative and NPOV, particularly whether they give original encyclopedia-quality sources on the events they report. The books themselves, and the video, are clearly secondary sources.

  • Electoral Dysfunction: A Survival Manual for American Voters, by Victoria Bassetti, Heather Smith and Mo Rocca (Sep 18, 2012)
  • Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, by Greg Palast (Sep 18, 2012)
  • The Politics of Voter Suppression: Defending and Expanding Americans' Right to Vote, (A Century Foundation Book) by Tova Andrea Wang and Janice Nittoli (Aug 21, 2012)
  • The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown, by Richard L. Hasen (Aug 14, 2012)
  • The Myth of Voter Fraud, by Lorraine Carol Minnite (Jun 10, 2010)
  • Loser Take All: Election Fraud and The Subversion of Democracy, 2000 - 2008, by Mark Crispin Miller (Apr 1, 2008)
  • Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression, by Spencer Overton (Jun 5, 2006)

Here is a DVD of a TV special on the subject.

  • Moyers & Company: Suppressing the Vote, Starring Bill Moyers, Keesha Gaskins, Michael Waldman, et al. (Sep 19, 2012) DVD

The Daily Beast has a story on it.

by John Avlon Oct 31, 2012 2:02 PM EDT

Books pushing the myth of voter fraud are one of the tools of choice among the voter suppression crowd.

  • Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy, by John H. Fund (Jul 21, 2008)
  • The Dead Always Vote Democrat: But Our Troops Don't Get to Vote, by Ben Brink (Sep 3, 2012)
  • Who's Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk, by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky (Aug 14, 2012)

Cherlin (talk) 23:51, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Since no one has stepped up to defend it, I've simply deleted the paragraph in question as trivial, as it makes controversial claims and doesn't cite any secondary sources. If this appears wrong to anyone else, though, as always, feel free to revert me and glad to talk further. -- Khazar2 (talk) 03:50, 17 December 2012 (UTC)


"Contemporary voter suppression techniques include voter ID laws."

I think that has to be rewritten. Many countries, including Canada, require identification in order to be able and eligible to vote and very few think of it as "voter suppression." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:39, 17 August 2014 (UTC)