Voter Suppression in the Twenty-First Century | WBEZ
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The New Yorker Radio Hour

Voter Suppression in the Twenty-First Century

In the November midterm elections, Stacey Abrams, a gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, arrived at her polling place to cast a vote for herself, only to have a poll worker claim that she had already filed for an absentee ballot. Carol Anderson’s book “One Person, No Vote” explores how measures designed to purge voters rolls or limit voting have targeted Democratic and particularly minority voters. Anderson sees voter-identification laws and a wide range of bureaucratic snafus as successors to the more blatantly racist measures that existed before the Voting Rights Act; she describes the resurgence of voter suppression as an expression of white rage. “It is not what we think of in terms of Charlottesville and the tiki torches,” she tells David Remnick. “It's the kind of methodical, systematic, bureaucratic power that undermines African-Americans’ advances." White Americans, she says, see themselves as trapped in a kind of “zero sum” situation, in which all advances for people of color must come at whites’ expense. Plus, the staff writer Jon Lee Anderson journeys up the Madre de Dios River in the Peruvian Amazon to observe as the Mashco Piro—one of the few remaining uncontacted indigenous tribes—begin a fraught, possibly fatal engagement with the outside world.

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