The Millennial Vote: Poll Conducted By Craig Newmark Foundation Reveals Challenges At The Ballot Box

In a recent poll conducted by the Craig Newmark Foundation, statistics showed that some states restricted access to the voting booth both “legalistically and procedurally” causing a “disproportionate impact on non-white and younger voters.”

The poll, conducted both in states where voter restrictions have been introduced and in those where they have not, suggests ways that the voices of people of color and younger voters have been suppressed.

“If we want a healthy democracy, we should be making it easier for everyone to vote, not harder,” Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist, whose Craig Newmark Foundation sponsored the poll said in a statement. “Long lines, restrictions on early voting, challenges by poll workers, registration glitches — all of it adds up to stifling a whole lot of people who both want to participate and have a right to participate.”

“America’s voting system is crumbling under the weight of outdated of technology and unfair new voting restrictions. It’s time to come together to fix it,” Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law added. “We need to invest in our critical election infrastructure. New voting machines should be a top priority to boost security and reduce congestion at the polls. Automatic voter registration would help streamline our elections, adding millions to the rolls and increasing accuracy.”

Key poll findings:

  • Nearly one-out-of-three voters of all races (31 percent) said they couldn’t get time off from work to vote. It was even more often the case for Blacks (41 percent) and Hispanics (34 percent), but only 30 percent for Whites.
  • Hispanic voters were twice as likely to wait in line for 30-60+ minutes to vote than White voters were.
  • 14 percent of Hispanic voters said their eligibility to cast a vote was questioned by officials – the same percentage as White and Black voters combined.
  • While many eligible voters of all races intentionally did not vote, there were significant numbers of potential voters who wanted to cast a ballot but for various reasons were unable to. This included, among those who didn’t vote, nearly half of Hispanic voters (47 percent) and (42 percent) of Blacks, as compared to less than a third (29 percent) of Whites.
  • Black and Hispanic voters were nearly two times more likely than White voters to have their eligibility challenged and required to a submit provisional ballots.
  • Among voters of all races, the age-group most frequently asked to submit provisional ballots were Millennials — almost one-out-of-four (24 percent) were challenged. By contrast, only six percent of Boomers and two percent of Silent/Greatest voter groups were required to submit provisional ballots.
  • Two times more Hispanic voters than White voters were harassed or called derogatory names before the election. With Facebook being where the harassment/name-calling took place. And most harassment came from family and friends.

The poll was conducted by Rad Campaign and Lincoln Park Strategies in late November. Approximately 3,050 Americans were polled online and 450 Americans by phone in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Arizona, as well as the following counties: Mecklenburg (NC), Harris (TX), Orange (FL), Duval (FL), and Broward (FL). California and Minnesota voters were also polled as control states.

Post-election, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) conducted a national exit survey. The CIRCLE poll suggests that more young adults in 2016 than in 2012 “supported a third-party candidate, did not vote for a presidential candidate, or specifically chose not to answer this poll question.”

“Young voters were a substantial voting bloc and they influenced the outcome, although a majority of them ended up on the losing side of the presidential race,” CIRCLE Director, Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg said in a statement.

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