Suppressing the electorate or enhancing vote numbers via a fake electorate are both detrimental to the functioning of democracy. Gist and Campbell highlighted methods of voter fraud using early 20th century Louisville and Adams County, Ohio as case studies. The methods included suppression of republican and African-American votes in Louisville via false registration, police force collusion, thievery and the purchasing of votes in Adams county. The case studies of both Louisville and Adams County show the harmful effects of voter suppression and fraudulent augmentation, but which one is more harmful to democracy? It’s hard for me to determine which worse, they are both harmful to the democratic electoral process and should not be held in contention of each other. However, I do believe it is easier for states to engage in suppression rather than augmentation. I believe this is notable in the current political climate.
Two weeks ago, we discussed how race dynamics influence elections. It was noted in one of the readings that sates with the highest preponderance of African American prisoners had the strictest felony disenfranchisement laws. This makes it clear that suppression can be hidden in legislation and the public may not even realize the influence that certain legislation has on voter turnout and election results. The issues with gerrymandering, extremely long voting lines, controversial voter ID laws, and party corruption during election of 2016 also highlighted issues of voter suppression. So, while they’re both harmful I believe suppression is easier to achieve, provides more fruitful results, and is currently more actively used in contemporary politics.