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Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Bernie Sanders Advisor Suggests Holding Elections While Colleges Are On Spring Break Is ‘Voter Supression’

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) advisors are laying the groundwork for possible objections to the ultimate delegate count, suggesting on national cable news programs that entities, including various states and the Democratic party as a whole, are working to “supress” Sanders’ supporters votes.
Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden are going head to head in three states Tuesday, Illinois, Florida, and Arizona. Ohio was slated to have a primary contest Tuesday but, after a protracted legal battle that went deep into Monday night, the state’s governor effectively postponed the contest, rescheduling the vote until the summer, when the threat of coronavirus has, hopefully, passed.
Biden is expected to win all three contests by a substantial margin. In Florida, the former Veep leads in polls by more than 40 points. In Illinois, Biden leads by 20 points and, in some Congressional disticts, by as much as 70 points. In Arizona, Biden is likely to win by between 20 and 30 points.
Until yesterday, Biden was also leading in Ohio. But by the time that primary surfaces yet again, he may well have snagged the 1,991 delegates he needs to secure the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Until a few weeks ago, Sanders’ campaign was still holding out hope that, at the very worst, they could force a brokered convention. Now, it seems, they are hoping to delegitimize Biden’s win by suggesting the DNC conspired with state parties and voting authorities to keep Sanders’ supporters from the polls.
On Monday, Sanders adviser Phillip Agnew told CNN that holding certain primaries, including last week’s primary in Mississippi, during college spring breaks was a form of “voter suppression,” given that Bernie Sanders’ core demographic is voters under the age of 35.
“There were a number of black colleges who were on spring break during Election Day,” Agnew said. “So we are up against rampant voter suppression efforts that are pushing young black folks out of the booth.”
“I think across the board, the Democratic Party has a lot of work to do to make sure that young black folks and older black folks have access to the ballot box,” Agnew added. “And our campaign is proud to actually been a part of that. And it’s not just our campaign. Across the board, we got a lot of work to do.”
The vote in Mississippi wasn’t close; Joe Biden won the state 80% to 20%. College students were certainly not the difference between a Sanders win and a Sanders loss — and holding primaries a week earlier or later probably would not have given Sanders an edge, particularly given that, across the board, Sanders’ supporters have been willing to attend rallies but less willing to cast ballots.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) now famously made the same claim about young voters in Michigan who were “suppressed” because same-day voter registration lines at the Ann Arbor, Michigan, city clerk’s offices were sometimes hours long — even though college students could have registered to vote at any time before last Tuesday’s primary.
“I think one thing that isn’t being talked about is the rampant voter suppression in this country,” Ocasio-Cortez told Fox News. “Right there, in Ann Arbor, where we had that rally, those kids were waiting three hours in line to vote in Michigan.”
But, the Detroit News reported, Ocasio-Cortez had her story wrong.
“The long lines were at clerks’ offices, not polling stations, multiple election officials said. At the clerks’ offices, some voters, especially in college areas, waited in line to register to vote on Election Day before casting their ballots,” a spokesperson for Michigan’s Secretary of State, Democrat Jocelyn Benson, reportedly told the paper.
A change, which allowed for same-day registration “significantly increased the Election Day workload for local election clerks,” the spokesperson added. “Our office worked to provide them extra support, but long lines were unavoidable when, late in the day, thousands of same-day registrants simultaneously went to a handful of clerks’ offices.”
Ann Arbor’s city clerk attacked Ocasio-Cortez’s statements directly: “That’s simply not true and to state that is misleading,” she said.”In fact, there were hardly any wait times anywhere in the city, except at city hall to register to vote.”

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