I live next to downtown Waxahachie, TX, and I’ve voted there before. Usually one can vote early at the Elections Office and, on election day, several other locations like the Woman’s Building on the corner of W. Jefferson St. (my street) and S. Monroe St.
The Woman’s Building location is good because it has parking and it’s centrally located where people can easily walk to vote. The Elections Office is also downtown and has great accessibility with a wheelchair ramp and there’s a parking garage right across the street.
But, this time, there’s no voting at the Elections Office in downtown Waxahachie–the capitol of Ellis County! If you want to vote, you have to drive outside of town to the Cowboy Church out on 287. Not only is this a huge inconvenience as it’s far from the most densely populated communities, but voting at the Cowboy Church isn’t exactly the most comfortable environment for those who don’t hold a right-wing conservative political position.
I eat breakfast every morning across the street from the Woman’s Building voting location, and I’ve watched people stop by looking to vote only to leave confused and wondering where to go. Grandma Moody stopped by there yesterday to vote, met someone else looking to do the same, realized it was closed, and eventually helped the other person locate the Cowboy Church outside of town.
A couple of days ago, a small sign appeared outside on the corner. In a tiny font with way more words than necessary, it says: “Notice: (Aviso) No Voting at Elections Office (Prohibido votar en la oficina electoral) Early Voting Main Location (Ubicacion principal de votacion anticipada:) Cowboy Church of Ellis Co. 2374 W US Highway 287 BYP Wax. 75167 Early Voting: October 24-November 4 www.co.ellis.tx.us/elections”
Wow. Really? No early voting at the actual Elections Office? Drive outside of town?
Let’s take a look at the Woman’s building location where we normally vote:
Taking a closer look at the sign:
And that friends is what actual voter suppression looks like. The people who are in charge of guaranteeing access to voting locations have changed the normal patterns of voting access and made it much more difficult to for those attempting to vote. They’ve removed normal voting locations and obfuscated communications with the community leaving people confused and likely to give up.