Here is the original story from the Philadelphia Inquirer). As a result a lawsuit was filed against the Chester County board of elections - consisting of 2 Republicans and one Democrat. (Note one of the Republicans is Black).
The scenario is pregnant with opportunity for the "Racism Chaser" to make the case of Voting Rights suppression. I credit them on their efforts because they typically do so when the Democrats lose.
If we allow the narrative to go unchecked it indeed sounds like a 1960's era voter suppression claim. They didn't bother to bring a "jar of jellybeans" for the Black students to guess the quantity as a condition of voting. This would be far too obvious.
I took my friend Filled Negro up on his charge and ran the numbers.
- 1,440 potential student voters at Lincoln
- A total of 4,319 non-student residents in the district for a grand total of 5,759 voters. (Note I considered the total population of Lower Oxford Township as voters -including children - just to make the math simple)
- There were 8 voting machines allocated to the precinct
- The polls were open from 7am till 7pm (and later extended to 11pm due to the long lines)
This equates to 719 voters per machine.
Over a 12 hour period this means that 60 people must use the machine per hour.
You get no argument from me that there exists a lack of VOTING MACHINE resources to accommodate this number of voters.
This was not the point of the lawsuit though.
The claim in the lawsuit was that the choice of precinct location had a suppressive effect upon voting. People were forced to wait in long lines and out in the rain because the facility could not accommodate the flow of traffic.
The key points that undercut their claim is that the elections of 2008 proved to be a resource constraint in many other areas. The voting machines are of a limited quantity. A machine given to Chester County is a machine that must come from Lancaster or Montgomery.
If the elections board acted with malicious intent - making the students wait outside in the hopes that some will be dissuaded then they should be fired and prosecuted.
However it appears that regardless of where these machines were placed - in a small community center or a larger gymnasium - the bottle neck STILL would have been the number of voting machines.
I would also ask - "Did any person who wanted to vote not get the opportunity to vote?"
It should also be noted that the "non-students" in the area would also be forced to wait in a long line.
Someone should request the history of voting totals over time to establish the unprecedented number of people that showed up in 2008.
With so many of the 'low hanging fruit' of civil rights violations having been consumed - some people are desperate to find something to keep their supporters united.