Unconscious Inertia


(Apologies for all the hashtags; I’m trying to make this searchable in Mastodon.)


I live in #HindsCounty #Mississippi, which leans Democratic and is majority-black. I've seen it implied or simply asserted in several places that the #election problems we experienced earlier this year—last minute changes of polling places at primaries in August, not enough ballots in some polling locations for the general election in November (which resulted in long lines while more ballots were retrieved, including at my own polling place; I waited a bit over an hour to vote)—were a #GOP and/or white effort to disenfranchise #Democrats and black voters.

I understand, given Mississippi’s history, why people might be inclined to jump to that narrative without too much thought.[1] But this assertion shows the ignorance (whether willful or not) of those making it. To wit, running elections in Mississippi—including determining polling places and printing ballots—is the responsibility of individual county Election Commissions. The Hinds County Election Commission is entirely composed of elected Democrats, most of whom, if not all, are black. It therefore strains credulity to imagine that the difficulties we experienced were some kind of political plot to prevent Democrats or black people from voting.

Long story short, the Election Commission just flat-out screwed up and has admitted it. Yes, they should think hard about how to avoid these problems for the next election, but at the end of the day, this wasn’t #politics, just human error—nothing #Democratic or #Republican about it. It happens, no conspiracy needed. Not really as satisfying—if that’s the right word—a story, but factual.

I think we’d all do better to base things on facts.

[1] Historically, of course, it would mostly be Democrats suppressing Republican voters, but the point stands.