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How to rig an election

Democratic candidate for Georgia Governor Stacey Abrams speaks during an election-night watch party Tuesday, May 22, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Brian Kemp got what he (and John Roberts) wanted:

Amid widespread voter distrust of government oversight of elections and questions about ballot access, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution conducted a unique statistical analysis to learn how precinct closures and distance to the polls impact voting.

The AJC mapped Georgia’s 7 million registered voters and compared how distance to their local precincts increased or decreased from 2012 to 2018. During that time, county election officials shut down 8% of Georgia’s polling places and relocated nearly 40% of the state’s precincts.

Most of the precinct closures and relocations occurred after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 ended federal oversight of local election decisions under the Voting Rights Act.

The AJC’s analysis, vetted by two nonpartisan statistics experts, showed a clear link between turnout and reduced voting access. The farther voters live from their precincts, the less likely they are to cast a ballot.

Precinct closures and longer distances likely prevented an estimated 54,000 to 85,000 voters from casting ballots on Election Day last year, according to the AJC’s findings.

And the impact was greater on black voters than white ones, the AJC found. Black voters were 20% more likely to miss elections because of long distances.

You can try to win elections by appealing to a wide swath of voters and you can try to win elections by trying to prevent people (particularly people of color) from voting, and there’s no question which path the contemporary Republican Party prefers.

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