Voting Rights Act

The GOP Is a Greater Threat to Free Elections

Jesse Jackson

Too often lost in the furor, however, is the far more damaging TrikiLeaks – the tricks and laws used to suppress the vote by partisans, largely Republicans here at home. After the Supreme Court’s right-wing gang of five gutted key sections of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby v. Holder, Republican-controlled states immediately ramped up efforts to create obstacles for voting, particularly for people of color.

Rampant Voter Fraud in the U.S.? No, Not Likely

Adam Gravano

At worst, the discriminatory effects of voter identification laws tend to prove minimal, mainly because their effect on elections overall has proven minimal, despite the intent to push down turnout among groups more likely to vote for one party over the other. These are results that have been repeated in the political science literature: Even though the effect in the short term falls primarily on minorities and the elderly, the overall effect on all but the closest of elections is minimal at best.

Trump's Ugly Midyear Record on Civil Rights

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

His first nomination out the box was Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to head the Justice Department, the umbrella agency that the Civil Rights Division is under. The total remake of the department was a top priority for Trump. Sessions hit the ground running. He demanded the delay, if not the end, of federal consent decrees on police misconduct, a new war on low-level drug offenders, silence on criminal justice reforms, and a full-throated endorsement of private prisons. Given Sessions’ intense dislike of the Voting Rights Act, enforcement of the law is even more imperiled.

New Voting Laws Block Many Elders, Women, Minorities

Paul Kleyman

“Voter ID laws disadvantaging older persons place a burden on the voting rights of those most likely to participate in the electoral process,” said Daniel Kohrman, a senior attorney with the AARP Foundation Litigation office in Washington, D.C. That’s because older citizens vote at greater percentages than younger people. A total of 33 states have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls this year. (West Virginia's new law goes into effect in 2018). 

The Harmful Effects of Voter ID Laws

Charles D. Ellison

Conversations on the expanding voter-ID and voter-suppression franchises have, up to this point, centered on election Armageddon scenarios in the general phase. When one is bracing for potentially sinister outcomes on Nov. 8, knowing what’s happening in the primary can offer a crucial preparation window. There’s good reason for seemingly over-the-top predictions: We’re about to witness the first major presidential cycle in generations without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

Hillary Clinton, a Champion of Voting Rights

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson

Arguing that every citizen should have the right to vote, Clinton argued the common sense position that we should do what we can to make voting easier, not make it harder. She called for restoring the Voting Rights Act, to ensure pre-screening of election law changes that potentially discriminate against classes of voters. She embraced the bipartisan presidential commission recommendations for expanding early absentee and mail voting and for ensuring that no one waits more than 30 minutes to cast a vote.

Black Voters Face New Hindrances in the South

Freddie Allen

Last summer, the United States Supreme Court invalidated the Section 4 coverage formula in the Voting Rights Act that required jurisdictions with a demonstrated history of voter discrimination to “pre-clear” any changes in voting laws with the Justice Department of a federal court. The ruling effectively neutered Section 5 of the VRA.“Four states formerly covered by Section 5 of the VRA – Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Georgia – rank as the worst offenders."

Feds to Take Texas to Task Over Voting Rights Act

Corey Dade

When Texas' Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott gloated on Twitter just hours after the Supreme Court hobbled the Voting Rights Act that "Eric Holder can no longer deny Voter ID in Texas," he had to know that the Obama administration would respond. Attorney General Holder delivered the counterpunch on Thursday, targeting Texas, the political poster child for voter suppression, in a new strategy to protect minorities under the remaining parts of the landmark law. 

Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Decision Contradicts Arizona Ruling

Valeria Fernández

The Supreme Court dealt a blow to the Voting Rights Act last week, only two weeks after ruling that an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote is unconstitutional. The Court’s decision last Tuesday and the idea underpinning it – that voter suppression of ethnic minority and poor voters is no longer an issue that warrants the same federal protections as it once did – sits at odds with their ruling on the Arizona voter ID law.

Supreme Court Ruling Strikes a Blow to the Voting Rights Act

Khalil Abdullah

On Tuesday, President Obama expressed “disappointment” in the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which all but eviscerated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and called upon Congress “to pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls.” Other critics of the ruling, however, were not so temperate in their characterization of what could prove to be a game changer for ongoing efforts to counter voter suppression.

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