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The Price Black Voters Paid to Defeat Roy Moore

Black voters endured waves of voter suppression to help elect Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate, and it didn’t have to be that way.
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Dave Martin/AP

The narrative around the Doug Jones vs. Roy Moore U.S. Senate race in the days leading up to yesterday’s election was that black people needed to vote at higher rates than normal. African Americans typically do not turn out in large numbers for Alabama elections, especially in off-year races, goes the narrative, and hence Doug Jones needed an unusual surplus of black votes to win. However, as Vann Newkirk pointed out in The Atlantic, what’s left from this narrative is that part of why black voter turnout, or even black voter energy, has been low in past elections is because of Alabama’s long history of making it difficult for black people to vote.

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