Tracy Clark-Flory writes on Salon.com: Louisiana officials have offered two alternatives to accommodate displaced residents: absentee ballots, and 10 "satellite" polling stations set up around the state to which voters can travel. Despite a recent outcry, a federal judge in Louisiana determined that officials were not required to provide polling stations outside the state.
Sharing Samuels' concern are civil rights advocates, legal experts and researchers who have tracked Katrina's toll. They warn that not nearly enough has been done to protect against the disenfranchisement of New Orleans residents -- a majority of them African-American and from poorer neighborhoods ravaged by Katrina. Beyond the reliance on absentee ballots and in-state satellite polling stations, critics say the integrity of the election is threatened by serious problems within the city itself, where some polling stations are dilapidated and possibly hazardous, and others are inaccessible to the disabled -- a violation of federal law. ...
According to John Logan, a professor of sociology at Brown University, a recent survey shows that more than twice as many blacks as whites were displaced out of state after Katrina. Logan headed a study released in January that found that New Orleans could lose up to 80 percent of its black population if residents displaced by Katrina were unable to return to their neighborhoods. Logan's research included the Current Population Survey released by the U.S. Department of Commerce in December, which showed that an estimated 102,000 African-Americans outside Louisiana were eligible to vote, compared with 48,000 whites. The number of blacks scattered within the state drops to an estimated 31,000, compared with 92,000 whites.
"The population that has returned to the city or general area is white and middle class," Logan said. "It's quite clear that if voting is higher within the state than by people out of state, that introduces a serious race and class bias to the electorate." -- Whitewashing the New Orleans vote? | Salon.com News