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Aug 1, 2020 4:38 PM ET

“Despite virus threat, Black voters wary of voting by mail”




iCrowd Newswire - Aug 1, 2020

From AP News, in the Bellefontaine Examiner:

Fears that the coronavirus pandemic will worsen, Victor Gibson said he’s not planning to take advantage of Michigan’s expanded vote-by-mail system when he casts his ballot in November.

The retired teacher from Detroit just isn’t sure he can trust it. Many Black Americans share similar concerns and are planning to vote in person on Election Day, even as mail-in voting expands to more states as a safety precaution during the pandemic.

For many, historical skepticism of a system that tried to keep Black people from the polls and worries that a mailed ballot won’t get counted outweigh the prospect of long lines and health dangers from a virus that’s disproportionately affected communities of color. Ironically, suspicion of mail-in voting aligns with the views of President Donald Trump, whom many Black voters want out of office….

Decades of disenfranchisement are at the heart of the uneasy choice facing Black voters, one of the Democratic Party’s most important voting groups. Widespread problems with mail-in ballots during this year’s primary elections have added to the skepticism at a time when making Black voices heard has taken on new urgency during a national reckoning over racial injustice.

Patricia Harris of McDonough, Georgia, south of Atlanta, voted in person in the primary and said she will do the same in November.

“I simply do not trust mail-in or absentee ballots,” said Harris, 73, a retired event coordinator at Albany State University. “After the primary and the results were in, there were thousands of absentee ballots not counted.”

Mistrust by Black voters runs deep and is tightly bound within the nation’s dark past of slavery and institutional racism….

Black people endured poll taxes, tossed ballots, even lynchings by whites intent on keeping them from voting. Over the decades, that led to a deep suspicion of simply handing off a ballot to the post office. Black people were the demographic least likely to cast votes by mail in 2018, with only 11% using that method, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By comparison, 24% of whites and 27% of Latinos reported voting by mail that year.



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