The New York Times released its first op-ed video game with The Voter Suppression Trail, a modern parody of the classic educational historical game The Oregon Trail.
As the name implies, The Voter Suppression Trail focuses on the perils of trying to vote in the US during the nation’s most heated election. The game offers three roles to choose from: a white programmer from California, a Latina nurse from Texas, and a black salesman from Wisconsin.
Play as a white Californian and you can “stroll to your polling place” and vote within a matter of minutes with zero frustrations.
Assume the role of the Latina nurse in Texas, however, and you’ll have to deal with a dearth of polling places, long lines, and sick family members begging for your help. Pick up your dysentery-stricken son from school and you’ve lost your vote. Attend to your ill mother and you’ll likewise forfeit your opinion. Heck, even if you weather these personal struggles and wait upwards of 80 minutes your vote still may not count if you don’t have a picture ID on you.
Playing as a black salesman from Wisconsin is equally grueling, as your boss and co-workers request you back in the office. Refuse and you’ll have to deal with docked pay and resentment from your colleagues, nevermind coping with freezing rain as you wait upwards of an hour to get inside.
While the string of unfortunate struggles besetting these folks may seem extreme, it’s likely that even a couple of these setbacks would take priority over submitting a single vote in a country of over 300m. On that level, The Voter Suppression Trail points out the myriad of obstacles preventing one’s vote from being counted. It also searches for the nearest polling place to you.
Election day in the US is 8th November. Best of luck to everyone to get their ballots in!