Voter suppression laws and intimidation are already creating obstacles to primary participation.

by Sravya Tadepalli, Prism

As the election primary enters full swing, voter suppression laws and intimidation tactics are increasingly hindering voter participation across the country.

In Tennessee, a new law requires signage at polling places warning voters that they can be charged with a misdemeanor if they vote for a candidate in a party primary without being a “bona fide” member of the party, a move voter advocates say is designed to intimidate people. In Louisiana, Gov. Jeff Landry approved a law ending the state’s 50-year tradition of open primaries. Though a later amendment allows no-party voters to participate in party primaries, those registered to third parties, including the Independent Party, will be unable to vote. Almost a third of the state’s electorate is registered as Independent or is unaffiliated with any party.

Voters wait in a long line to cast their ballots

Other more nefarious activities are also intimidating voters. In Travis County, Texas, district attorney candidate and eventual winner José Garza said volunteers on his campaign had faced harassment from members of a pro-police biker club who allegedly followed volunteers as they canvassed the neighborhood and attempted to disrupt their conversations with voters. In New Hampshire, two Texas companies allegedly deployed pre-recorded robocalls using artificial intelligence to mimic President Joe Biden’s voice to discourage voters from participating in the state’s primary election.

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