Recounts are but one tool in the ongoing fight to build just and secure elections. Recounts are limited by the recount laws put in place by a political establishment generally seeking to maintain the status quo. Recounts do not address the range of voter suppression tactics used to disenfranchise vulnerable communities and keep millions of people from voting.
Voter suppression schemes include Voter ID laws that unjustly require voters to show official identification at the polls in order to cast a ballot. This creates a bureaucratic hurdle for disadvantaged groups less likely to have such identification, including people of color, ethnic minorities, low-income people, students, seniors and the disabled. Approximately thirty-four states currently have voter ID laws, which are estimated to block several million people from voting across the U.S. In the Wisconsin 2016 election, one study estimated the Voter ID law prevented 200,000 people, disproportionately African Americans, from voting.
Voter ID laws are promoted as a supposed solution to the alleged problem of voter impersonation, a problem that numerous studies have shown to be almost nonexistent. These laws should be repealed or overturned in court, where several states’ Voter ID laws have been recently invalidated.
Interstate Crosscheck is another voter suppression scheme estimated to block millions of people from voting. It uses a database to identify voters potentially registered to vote in more than one state. Because it uses criteria that falsely identify duplicates, it largely removes legitimate voters from the rolls. One study found that purges by Interstate Crosscheck are wrong 99% of the time. Because people of color and ethnic minorities are over-represented in the Interstate Crosscheck database, it disproportionately disenfranchises these groups. Secretaries of State should be discouraged from using Interstate Crosscheck until it can be banned.