GOOD

This Oregon Trail-Based Video Game Shows How You’ll Be Prevented From Voting

“Find out if your vote can survive the adventure of American democracy!”

As millions of Americans cast their ballots on Tuesday, millions more will not, deprived of the ability by policies that systematically suppress the voting rights of low-income citizens and citizens of color.


To demonstrate how this disenfranchisement works, The New York Times published a video game that simulates election day for three types of voters: a white programmer from California; a Latina nurse from Texas; and a black salesman from Wisconsin.

In the game, “The Voter Suppression Trail”—based on the PC classic “Oregon Trail”—the latter two characters must overcome inconveniently located polling sites, restrictive voter identification laws, intimidation tactics, and other hurdles in order to cast their votes. Meanwhile the white programmer from California leisurely strolls to his nearby polling site and submits his ballot with minimal drama.

Like “Oregon Trail,” players are presented with obstacles and must choose from various options to respond. You can play the game here.

Of course, voter suppression is not just a game. Since the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, which permitted states to pass voting laws without federal approval—thereby gutting the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965—Republican officials have taken extreme measures to restrict minority citizens’ ability to vote.

A recent study of seven states previously protected by the Voting Rights Act showed that 43 percent of counties have reduced the number of voting locations since 2013 in areas that serve Democrat-leaning minority voters. In the 381 counties surveyed, there are 868 fewer places to vote this election than in the 2014 mid-terms.

States have restricted early voting in similarly discriminatory ways. North Carolina, for example, completely cut 27 voting sites this year and dramatically reduced early voting hours at remaining sites—restrictions that a U.S. Court of Appeals recently described as “target(ing) African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

At the same time, voter ID laws—which now exist in 34 states despite extensive evidence that in-person “voter fraud” is incredibly rare and has no impact on elections—suppress turnout for Latino voters by 10.8 percent and for multiracial Americans by 12.8 percent.

These new legal developments, in addition to practical obstacles facing low-income voters like less flexible work schedules and the pressures of single-parent households, contribute to America touting the second lowest voter turnout in the developed world, disproportionately impacting Americans of color.

“The Voter Suppression Trail” visualizes this persisting problem, which recalls America’s long history of racially motivated voter suppression, in a way that highlights discrimination’s absurdity. The game was designed by the creators of GOP Arcade, a series of sarcastic election-themed games including “Angry Olds” and “Get Trump’s Taxes.”

Sports

Some beauty pageants, like the Miss America competition, have done away with the swimsuit portions of the competitions, thus dipping their toes in the 21st century. Other aspects of beauty pageants remain stuck in the 1950s, and we're not even talking about the whole "judging women mostly on their looks" thing. One beauty pageant winner was disqualified for being a mom, as if you can't be beautiful after you've had a kid. Now she's trying to get the Miss World competition to update their rules.

Veronika Didusenko won the Miss Ukraine pageant in 2018. After four days, she was disqualified because pageant officials found out she was a mom to 5-year-old son Alex, and had been married. Didusenko said she had been aware of Miss World's rule barring mother from competing, but was encouraged to compete anyways by pageant organizers.

Keep Reading Show less

One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.



It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

Keep Reading Show less
via Sportstreambest / Flickr

Since the mid '90s the phrase "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" has been part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's football team's lexicon.

Over the past few years, the team has taken the field flying a black skull-and-crossbones flag with an acronym for the phrase, "GFBD" on the skull's upper lip. Supporters of the team also use it on social media as #GFBD.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture