For Democrats the 2016 Presidential primary season was rough and exhilarating. Hillary Clinton, with all her millions in corporate campaign cash, barely eked out a victory against Bernie Sanders, a popularly funded, self-proclaimed democratic socialist from Vermont. His unlikely rise from virtual obscurity nearly toppled Clinton while sparking the imagination of millions of Americans struck by the notion that a “political revolution” could really be within reach.
Alas, it didn’t work out for Sanders. At least for now. At least that’s what we’ve been told. What many newly engaged voters did not expect to find was that the U.S. electoral process is convoluted, confusing and fucked up. In state after state there were hours-long lines to vote, too few polling places, mass voter roll purges, voters prevented from being able to cast a vote at all for lack of photo ID (thanks to purposely restrictive new GOP laws), voting machine malfunctions and official results that often seemed to defy both preelection surveys and exit polling.
And all of that will likely be much worse come November thanks to new voting restrictions in dozens of states. For the first time in almost 50 years our country will hold a Presidential election without the full protective force of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.
I’ve heard from many voters who were heartbroken and disillusioned after facing ridiculously stupid hurdles simply trying to vote in a primary. Many had no confidence that their ballot would be counted as cast. Some now feel like they never want to participate in the process again.