From DC To Iowa, Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Yesterday’s Primary
With all that’s going on across the country – between a national health crisis and social unrest in response to the continued murders of unarmed Black men – you’d be forgiven for forgetting that we’re still in the middle of an election year. In fact, we’re still in the middle of a primary season. I know, it seems like 2020 has already dragged forever but we still have a ways to go.
Thankfully, despite all the challenges the country is facing, millions of voters still stepped out yesterday to let their voices be heard in the primary process.
In D.C., people lined up to vote despite protests, a pandemic, a city-wide curfew, and threats of police violence.
I anticipation of continued anti-police brutality demonstrations, all of D.C. was under a 7 p.m. curfew for a fifth consecutive day. However, Mayor Muriel Browser pointed out on social media and in interviews that residents would be allowed to cast ballots no matter the hour as long as they were in line before 8 p.m. Essential workers and journalists are also exempted from the city’s curfew.
More than four hours after polls closed for D.C.’s primary election, some District voters throughout the city were still waiting in line to cast their ballots, as the June 2 primary stretched into June 3.
In one part of the city, Ward 4, more than 100 people remained in line to vote as of 11:15 p.m. According to several elections volunteers however, most people at the polling center were sticking it out and “people are really positive and patient.”
The precinct is one of many across the city where people waited upwards of four hours to vote.
Police allegedly threatened D.C. voters who were in line to vote, despite being exempt from the city’s curfew.
The Mayor’s order made it very clear that as long as you were in line to vote before the 8 p.m. poll closing time, you would be able to cast your vote no matter the hour. Basically, anyone who was out past the 7 p.m. curfew to vote was exempt from the curfew order.
But according to some reports, some police didn’t seem to know or care about this exemption. Many took to Twitter to share that while waiting in line, police were harassing them and demanding they return home.
Meanwhile, in Iowa, Republicans finally drove racist and anti-immigrant Rep. Steve King from office.
King’s defeat was the top headline in Tuesday’s primaries. The nine-term congressman with a history of racist and anti-immigrant remarks was ousted after the GOP establishment lined up in support of his challenger, Randy Feenstra.
King’s defeat doesn’t necessarily mean a progressive candidate will take his place. Most pundits expect his Iowa district to remain in Republican control come the general election in November – Trump carried the district by nearly 30 points in 2016.
But getting rid of King is a win for all sides. He had a history of hate rhetoric targeting Black and Latino communities. But only after a New York Times interview in January 2019, in which the congressman questioned why the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” were offensive, did he finally lose the support of GOP leaders.
In 2013, in response to proposed immigration legislation, King said this of migrants, “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds—and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
Yesterday’s primaries also revealed challenges states face in the upcoming general election caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic presents states with two immense challenges: how to deal with the wave of mail ballots from voters who don’t wish to travel to their polling place in person, and how to accommodate those who do show up and follow the necessary medical precautions.
Yesterday, lines stretch on for hours. So states need to figure out how to safely accommodate the increase in voters and provide them with social-distant ways to vote.
Obviously, it’s fantastic that Americans are voting in record numbers. We need everyone to vote to be able to achieve the kind of change that we want and need to see in this country. But all of this means that come November, America may not know who wins the presidency on Nov. 3.