Florida and Georgia are among most difficult states in which to vote, according to study co-authored by JU professor

The cost of voting

Florida and Georgia are among the most difficult states in which to cast a ballot.

This is according to a study co-authored by Jacksonville University Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Michael Pomante, Dr. Scot Schraufnagel of Northern Illinois University and Dr. Quan Li of Wuhan University in China.

The study found that Florida and Georgia have recently made it harder to vote.

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In 2016, Florida ranked 32nd and Georgia ranked 35th on the Cost of Voting Index.

The study looks at all 50 states and ranks on them on how easy, or difficult, it is to cast a ballot.

The most recent study found that both Florida and Georgia have since made it harder for people to vote.

“Is there one thing that made them drop or was it a combination of things?” asked Lorena Inclán.

“Well it’s a combination of things,” said Pomante.

Florida now ranks 40th.

Pomante said that’s partly because the state put more restrictions on felons who have served their time, but that’s not the only reason.

“They haven’t really adopted any liberalizing policies, policies that make it easier, that other states have adopted. We look at automatic registration or all mail voting,” he said.

Georgia now ranks 49th.

The state saw long lines for early voting this year. Some people reported waiting more than eight hours to vote near Atlanta.

“Largely because they have reduced the number of polling locations within the state in some districts up to 50%,” said Pomante.

Pomante said while some changes have been made this year because of COVID-19, that doesn’t mean the changes will stay for the next election.

He said this study goes to show how each state’s laws have an impact on our democracy.

“For voters watching the story what do you believe should be their big take away from your study?” asked Inclán.

“I think the biggest takeaway should be that we should want everyone to participate this is a democracy and we should make it as easy as possible for everyone,” said Pomante.

The state of Oregon ranked No. 1 in the study, and Texas came in last place.