Recorded on 4/22/21, Steve Adubato speaks with Henal Patel, Esq., Director, Democracy & Justice Program, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, about the distinctions between voter suppression and election security, the impact of Georgia’s new election policies, and the connection between voting laws and race.
Patel says the biggest difference between voter suppression initiatives and voter security comes down to who is afraid of democracy vs. who is embracing it. She explains, “When you’re thinking about democracy, it’s about the voters. That’s it…are we making things better for voters? And that’s what it comes down to, whether we are actually making our democracy stronger or not.”
State legislatures are attempting to change the voting process or make it more difficult to vote and she feels that is directly linked to the results of the 2016 election. Patel adds, “A lot of those lies that were told, right from the top, as from the then President, about the system, they are using that as pre-tech to turn back voting rights. And we’re seeing that a lot of that is the result of the actual election…you see that based on how they’re targeting what laws to push back, what laws to pull back, where they’re making it difficult for people to use dropboxes, for example.”
Voters have waited in long lines across the country to cast their ballots for hours and hours, for several elections. Patel believes prohibiting providing water to people waiting in line to vote is asking them to choose between voting and a basic human need. She believes this is a way to get people to avoid standing on the voting line and not vote.