Celebrities & Pop Culture

Arnold Schwarzenegger Has Offered To Pay To Reopen Polling Stations That Closed

"I'm a fanatic about voting," he tweeted.

As the presidential election draws closer, efforts to encourage people to vote are ramping up. And former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has made it clear he’s willing to do what it takes to get Americans into polling booths around the country.

Schwarzenegger tweeted a 2019 report showing that Southern states have closed 1,200 polling places in the years following a Supreme Court decision in 2013 that weakened parts of the Voting Rights Act. In the tweet, he made these states an offer — he’d pay to reopen their closed polling places.

“I’ve been thinking about this a lot,” Schwarzenegger wrote in the tweet. “I’m a fanatic about voting. Most people call closing polls voter suppression. 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 continued. “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.”

Many of his followers were quick to agree with him that closing polling places is a form of voter suppression. “This is deliberate racism to deprive minorities of their rightful vote!” wrote commenter @equi_noctis.

Other followers expressed gratitude for Schwarzenegger’s offer.

“Thank you for talking about this, Arnold,” @madymischief replied. “People should be able to exercise their right to vote in a safe, convenient, and time-efficient way. Everyone should have easy access to their polling location. Everyone’s voice should matter.”

According to Reuters’ coverage of the report from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, 1,200 polling stations in Southern states have closed since the Shelby County v. Holder decision. The report found that more than one in 10 voting locations in Texas have closed, and in Louisiana and Mississippi, one in 20 are no longer open. In Arizona, which was also affected by the ruling, one in five have closed.

According to data from Pew Research Center, four in 10 Americans who were eligible to vote didn’t exercise that right in 2016.