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Election take on 'The Oregon Trail' is almost too realistic

'The Voter Suppression Trail' is a commentary on attempts to deny minorities their rights.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
November 7, 2016
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You may have no problem voting in the US election, but others won't have it so easy... and a web game is making that point all too clear. GOP Arcade and the New York Times' opinion section have posted The Voter Suppression Trail, a spin on the classic The Oregon Trail that draws attention to Republican-backed tactics making it difficult for minorities to vote, such as fewer polling places and intimidation. As you might guess, where you live and who you are makes the game either trivially easy or a serious challenge.

Are you a white Californian programmer? You'll waltz right into the voting booth. If you're a Latina nurse in Texas or a black salesman in Wisconsin, however, it gets much harder. You'll have to choose whether to stay in line or give up your vote to take care of more urgent matters, such a family illness (dysentery, since this is an Oregon Trail spoof) or an angry boss who wants you back at work. And even if you get inside the polling place on time, there's no guarantee that you'll cast a ballot. You may have to dodge "observers" bent on keeping you away.

This is far from a neutral take on the election that explores potential problems on all sides. The game is marked as an opinion documentary for good reason. It's grounded in reality, however, and may serve as a reminder that voting opportunities aren't the same for every American -- and that's a problem no matter who you're voting for.

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