US news Texas closes hundreds of polling sites, making it harder for minorities to vote

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Richard Salame
Mon 2 Mar 2020

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The Guardian

The closures could exacerbate Texas’s already chronically low voter turnout rates, to the advantage of incumbent Republicans. Photograph: Mark Felix/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Last year, Texas led the US south in an unenviable statistic: closing down the most polling stations, making it more difficult for people to vote and arguably benefiting Republicans.
A report by civil rights group The Leadership Conference Education Fund found that 750 polls had been closed statewide since 2012.

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Long considered a Republican bastion, changing racial demographics in the state have caused leading Democrats to recast Texas as a potential swing state. Texas Democratic party official Manny Garcia has called it “the biggest battleground state in the country”.

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The closures could exacerbate Texas’s already chronically low voter turnout rates, to the advantage of incumbent Republicans. Ongoing research by University of Houston political scientists Jeronimo Cortina and Brandon Rottinghaus indicates that people are less likely to vote if they have to travel farther to do so, and the effect is disproportionately greater for some groups of voters, such as Latinos.

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