clock menu more-arrow no yes

What long voting lines in the US really mean

The sneaky ways some US states make it harder to vote.

The process of voting isn’t the same for all Americans. Depending on where you live, you might vote on a screen, a punchcard, or a piece of paper. You might have to show an ID to vote. And you might have to wait a long time — or you might not.

Some of these differences don’t really matter. But some of them make voting harder. And sometimes they can keep people from voting altogether. For decades, the US had a civil rights law that made sure those differences were fair and didn’t disproportionately keep certain people from voting: the 1965 Voting Rights Act. But in 2013, the US Supreme Court gutted that law, allowing states to pass a slew of new voting laws.

Those new laws often had the effect of making it harder for poor people and people of color to vote. The 2020 US election will be shaped in part by those laws. But the same election will also decide the future of those laws.

This video is the second in our series on the 2020 election. We aren’t covering the horse race; instead, we want to explain the stakes of the election through the issues that matter the most to you. To do that, we want to know what you think the US presidential candidates should be talking about. Tell us here: vox.com/ElectionVideos

You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube. And if you’re interested in supporting our video journalism, you can become a member of the Vox Video Lab on YouTube.