Mississippi, Alabama take last place in elections performance study

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 10:22 EDT
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Mississippi, Alabama and Washington D.C. make it harder than any other states in the union for citizens to vote, according to a new study from the Pew Charitable Trust.

To compile the list, researchers looked at 17 different factors for each state, ranging from the total number of rejected ballots to waiting time at the polls, electronic data availability, election day turnout, accuracy of voting technology, provisional balloting preparedness, readiness for voters with disabilities, and more.

Among the findings, a few stark facts jump out: Pennsylvania and Indiana threw away “more than half” of their voter registration applications in 2010, whereas Alabama and Kansas rejected less than half of one percent — meanwhile, North Dakota threw out none because they don’t use them; Despite efforts to revoke early voting times and make the lines longer, 10 states managed to get voter lines down to just five or six minutes, but the longest lines were in South Carolina and Georgia. Additionally, only 14 states turned over all the data researchers asked for.

Using the data, Pew put together an interactive map that lets users find out more about voting rights in individual states. Mississippi came in dead last with a ranking of 42 percent, followed by Washington D.C. at 43 percent and Alabama at 46 percent.

President Barack Obama said in his re-election acceptance speech that the nation is “going to have to work on” voting lines and ensuring states better represent their people. It would seem that Pew’s report has given his supporters a map of where to start.

That effort is already underway in Congress. Led by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Democrats have introduced bills in the House and Senate that would expand early voting times and require online and same-day voter registration become standardized.

Photo: Shutterstock.com.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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