Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Registered voters wait in line to place their ballots in the Kentucky primary at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo: Michael Blackshire for the Washington Post)

'What Voter Suppression Looks Like': Do NY and Kentucky Primary Issues Foretell a Disaster for November?

"Today shows that vulnerable communities face barriers to the vote. Long lines, late poll openings, and more show voter suppression is a threat to democracy."

Jake Johnson

Video footage of Kentuckians pounding on the doors of a closed Louisville precinct demanding the right to cast their ballots in the state's primary contest on Tuesday was cited by voting rights advocates as an alarming portent of what could unfold in November's general election if steps aren't taken to confront America's nationwide crisis of voter suppression.

"This is what voter suppression looks like," tweeted advocacy group Indivisible in response to a viral video showing dozens of prospective voters banging on the doors of Louisville's lone in-person polling site after the precinct closed at the 6 pm deadline.

Kentucky election officials, citing public health risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, slashed the number of polling locations open Tuesday from 3,700 on a typical election day to just 170.

Voters who stayed in line at the Louisville precinct after the doors closed were ultimately let inside after progressive Senate candidate Charles Booker secured a court order extending the deadline to 6:30 pm, but not before the troubling scene was captured on video:

Rights groups said voting issues Kentucky—as well as the long lines and voting machine malfunctions that plagued the New York primary on Tuesday—are just more evidence that states and Congress must act immediately to remove barriers to the franchise and expand voting options before November.

"Today shows that vulnerable communities face barriers to the vote," tweeted Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. "Long lines, late poll openings, and more show voter suppression is a threat to democracy."

Richard Beliles, board chair of Common Cause Kentucky, said in a statement late Tuesday that "the shortage of poll workers led to a shortage of polling places which made it harder for poor and disabled citizens to get to the polls."

"That is a shortcoming that must be addressed," said Beliles. "We need to offer no excuse absentee voting for the general election and we need to build in enough time to get those requests in and mailed back to voters in plenty of time to vote."

Common Cause New York executive director Susan Lerner said that while the New York Board of Elections did a "credible job meeting the overwhelming demand for absentee ballots and increasing polling sites for early voting... that does not excuse the outstanding issues we've seen today."

"We'll be following up aggressively to resolve them before the fall," said Lerner. "Common Cause NY is committed to making sure that the state hit hardest in the nation by the coronavirus has a full say in the presidential election this November."

Mother Jones senior reporter Ari Berman warned Wednesday that the voter suppression that has thrown 2020 primary elections into chaos in New York, Kentucky, Georgia, Wisconsin, and other states is likely to be amplified in November in the absence of substantial changes at the local and national level.

"A pattern of voting problems suggests that there will be major barriers to ballot access for the presidential election in November, when the coronavirus crisis is likely to be nowhere near over," wrote Berman. "One of the clear lessons from the primaries is to make sure there are enough polling places open, even as voters are encouraged to vote by mail."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·

'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·

'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·

80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo