Arnold Schwarzenegger Just Offered to Help Polling Places Reopen in the South

Jesse Hicks
·2 mins read

From Men's Health

We’ve learned a lot about former governor, actor, and fitness icon Arnold Schwarzenegger this past summer. The 73-year-old has been sharing his workouts, offering advice on how to build exercise habits that’ll last you a lifetime, and (most delightfully) introduced us to his menagerie of inexplicably indoor farm animals.

One thing we didn’t know about the Terminator, though, was his apparent passion for voting. Yet in a recent tweet, Schwarzenegger describes himself as “a fanatic about voting.” And he’s seemingly willing to put his money where his mouth is: describing how many polling places have shuttered in the United States, it appears he's offering to pay to have them reopened.

Schwarzenegger begins by referencing a Reuters article from 2019 detailing that southern states in the US have closed nearly 1,200 polling places since 2013. That year, the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act of 1965, specifically one portion of the law that required areas with a history of voting discrimination to have any changes to their election systems pre-approved by the Department of Justice or a federal court.

Doing away with that requirement, voting rights advocates argue, gave states too free a hand in running their elections—a freedom they’re now abusing, with discriminatory effects. Most affected areas were in southern states, and since the weakening of the law, officials have closed many polling places, making it that much harder for people to vote. Seven counties in Georgia, for example, have only a single polling place.

Often authorities claim this is a cost-cutting measure, rather than an effort to depress voter turnout in poorer, often minority areas. Schwarzenegger doesn’t seem to buy that argument, and he’s calling out officials who plead poverty.

“Most people call closing polls voter suppression,” he writes. “Some say it is ‘budgetary.’ What if I made it easy & solved the budgetary issue? How much would it cost to reopen polling places?”

“This is a serious question,” he continues. “Is closing polling stations about making it harder for minorities to vote, or is it because of budgets? If you say it’s because of your budget, let’s talk.”

Challenge issued. Sounds like the ball is in your court, election officials.

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