According to Waiting to Vote: Racial Disparities in Election Day Experiences, published by the Brennan Center for Justice with the support of Carnegie Corporation of New York, Black and Latino Americans face longer wait times on Election Day than white voters. In the past, long wait times were disruptive and disenfranchising. Today, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, they raise serious health concerns.
As Myrna Pérez, director of the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the Brennan Center, writes in the report’s foreword:
Though completed before the eruption of the coronavirus, this report is even more critical now because it provides information regarding community needs as well as mistakes commonly made in planning for and staffing in-person voting. While the risk of COVID-19 will no doubt move more voters to cast their ballots by mail, some communities — more typically communities of color — rely on polling places. We must make sure that there are in-person options, and that they have enough of the right kinds of resources.
If the voting process is not fair and balanced for all Americans, the Brennan Center report argues, the experiences and opinions of scores of citizens will not be counted, even as many possibly risk their health to be a part of the process.