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'Voter Suppression Is Not Working This Year,' Says Voting Rights Advocate

Teran Powell
Milwaukee Excellence Charter School was one of 176 polling places on Election Day in Milwaukee. Many Wisconsin voters registered on Election Day at their polling place, which helped increase voter turnout.

While official election results are still being tabulated, we do know a little more about voter turnout. Milwaukeeans and Wisconsinites alike showed up at the polls in droves — by mail, through early voting and on Election Day.

It was one of the best elections for voter turnout behind the 2004 election in Wisconsin, which unlike some states has same-day voter registration. Some voter advocacy groups see this policy as a step in the right direction toward fighting voter suppression.

“The fact that voter suppression is not working this year is actually the story of the 2020 election. And voter suppression tends to target young people, people of color and low-income people and those three groups are turning out in record-shattering numbers,” says Debra Cleaver, CEO of voter information organization Vote America.

She says that same-day voter registration has allowed organizations like Vote America to streamline their voter education process. Instead of having to contact voters about registering and then later having to inform them about upcoming elections, they can do both at once.

“That’s probably one of our biggest takeaways from this year, is that in the 21 states that have Election Day registration, we should put all of our voter registration time and money in that,” she says.