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Is there a racial divide when it comes to length of the voting lines?

Socially distanced voters line up inside of State Farm Arena, Georgia's largest early voting location, for the first day of early voting in the general election on October 12, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Jessica McGowan
Socially distanced voters line up inside of State Farm Arena, Georgia's largest early voting location, for the first day of early voting in the general election on October 12, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Jessica McGowan (Getty Images)

Is there a racial divide when it comes to voting wait times at precincts? Some numbers signal yes.

In 2016, white voters waited an average of 10 minutes, according to a survey of voters conducted by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In comparison, Black voters waited an average of 16 minutes and Latino voters were in line an average of 13 minutes, according to the survey.

During the 2018 election, Black voters waited an average of 11.5 minutes, Latino voters an average of 11.7 minutes and white voters an average of 8.8 minutes, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s survey, which covered 3,119 precincts, found that the average voting wait time for precincts with 10% or less non-white voters was 5.1 minutes and the median was 3.6 minutes.

In precincts with 90% or more non-white voters, the average wait time was 32.4 minutes and the median was 13.3 minutes.

The biggest reason for the discrepancy is that there tends to be fewer voting resources poured into minority communities, according to Pew.

There are often fewer polling places, voting machines and poll workers in minority communities than in other neighborhoods, according to Pew, citing a 2014 study from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law.


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