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Supreme Court Ruling Opens Door to Widespread Voter Suppression

Supreme Court Ruling Opens Door to Widespread Voter Suppression

This is a guest post from Renee Davidson, Online Content Associate from the League of Women Voters and was originally published at lwv.org.

In its ruling on Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder last week, the U.S. Supreme Court erased fundamental protections against racial discrimination in voting that have been critical in protecting our democracy for more than four decades. The Court ruled unconstitutional Section 4 of the landmark Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, thereby stripping the VRA of a key provision used to ensure equal access to the vote in states with histories of racial discrimination in voting.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts wrote bluntly in the Court’s opinion that “voting discrimination still exists: no one doubts that.” Yet the Court’s decision opens the door for states to further enact discriminatory voting measures. States that may earlier have been dissuaded from pursuing legislation to limit voting rights due to the need for federal preclearance, or approval, will now be emboldened to attempt to pass these laws.

The Voting Rights Act is widely recognized as one of the nation’s most effective civil rights statutes. More than forty years after the civil rights movement, the VRA continues to play a vital role in preventing discriminatory voting measures. Section 4 of the VRA helped the U.S. Department of Justice block over 700 racially discriminatory voting measures between 1982 and 2006. Upon its last reauthorization in 2006 with overwhelming bipartisan support, Congress declared that without the VRA’s protections, “racial and language minority citizens will be deprived of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.” We continue to need the VRA to combat ‘second-generation barriers’ and the pernicious discrimination that is less visible than what occurred decades ago but is no less harmful to the right to vote today.

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling this week leaves the country vulnerable to the very forms of voter suppression Congress warned of in 2006. The Shelby decision has taken away the nation’s most effective tool in fighting anti-voter laws in jurisdictions with histories of voter discrimination. Without a strong Voting Rights Act (VRA), our ability to keep our elections free, fair and accessible and to challenge attempts to suppress the vote, including voter photo ID laws and racially gerrymandered districts, is significantly weakened. Politicians on both sides of the aisle, including President Obama and former Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, who was instrumental to reauthorization efforts, have expressed their disagreement with the Supreme Court’s decision.

The impact of the Court’s decision has been immediate: six states moved forward with voter ID laws, some of which had already been found discriminatory under the Voting Rights Act but can now move forward with implementation. The floodgates are now open for state legislatures to put in place barriers to voting.

To protect our democracy, the League will redouble our efforts in the states to fight restrictions like voter ID, limits on early voting and unfair redistricting. Leagues across the country will continue to encourage voters to challenge attacks on voting rights in their communities and work to ensure that our voter registration efforts reach all eligible voters. We will call public attention to the attempts to keep people from voting and we will encourage voters to rise up and overcome those restrictions.

The League believes that now and going forward, Congress must act to restore the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act. Now that the floodgates have opened, time is of the essence: It is up to Congress to act quickly and decisively to close the door to voter discrimination by passing legislation to ensure that every American has equal access to the polls. And it is up to the public to demand this action.

 

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100 comments

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2:43PM PDT on Jul 11, 2013

Son, you are proof-positive that trying to maintain cogent discussions with rightwing trolls is like trying to sculpt the Statue of David out of root beer soda.

Troll cowardice is a walking advertisement for [D] campaigns, so I do attempt to reveal it wherever I can, and having done so I then celebrate it, as I do now.

4:48PM PDT on Jul 8, 2013

AS I previoulsy stated C.W. When you can contribute to the thread without all your drival attacking people you don't agree with I will be glad to reply.. Till you grow up ~~ Bye.!!!!

4:53PM PDT on Jul 6, 2013

Del R is once again playing victim. Poor, poor little Del R being called out for the nonsense he parrots....and apparently unable to defend himself intellectually.....and so he tries instead to ascribe to me his own utter lack of any ability to address issues material to the article, even as he frantically DEFLECTS to any other topic.

Del R, I specifically challenged your description of the SC's ruling as 'common sense', with facts and a line of logic...and its like talking to the urinal....all I get back is gurgling. Typical rightwing troll.

'Sin by silence', and we might only suspect that you are a malignant apologist for the rightwing underbelly; but 'open your mouth' and post your sinful insults to human intelligence, and we now have no doubt at all about what you are.

12:30PM PDT on Jul 6, 2013

THere is no true voter fraud of any significance. There is no need for all these sudden changes the right it pushing for. Study after study has proven that most voter fraud ahppens by the poilitical parties or their support systems. This is all a red herring to make it harder for many people to vote.

6:43AM PDT on Jul 6, 2013

Dear C.W. I see once again you ignored the question "Sin by Silence"?

Your ramblings in your post are tied to this thread how? The majority of you post was a feeble attempt to belittle. Borders on "CARE 2" COC issues. Go back to your thinking pool please and come better prepared to post something that contributes to this thread please. You will see that in my previous posts but only in 1 or 2 of yours since this thread was created. Bye Cletus..

6:26PM PDT on Jul 5, 2013

Wow. Still awaiting the cogency. Instead, the swatted fly is buzzing around about 18 year olds, progressive communities, and shameful schools and parents.

Somehow, I didn't get all that in the Supreme Court's ruling. Can a quote from the majority's opinion, one that relates to Del R's fantasies, be provided?

If it has nothing else, the rightwing has an ingrained abilty to DEFLECT away from inconvenient facts. This ability has undoubtedly only 'recently' been obtained by some in our species. As recently as ~10,000 years ago, such beings would have fallen prey to the prey they were hunting, or succumbed to environmental realities, and so the genetic disposition for such a delusionary approach to homo sapien life would have been quickly extinguished. Thus, perforce, this [R] 'deflection' gene had to be a relatively recent mutation.

5:44PM PDT on Jul 5, 2013

Cletus W.
"Del R. -- I think you should go back to "sinning by silence", intead of posting vaporous drivel."

You seem to be the drivel expert C.W. what did you mean then when you said go back to? if not stating I was all ready doing it? Did you flunk Eng. 101?

What party is that you suspect I belong to? I know it is very hard to have any voter fraud in this state because you have to sign in before being given a ballot. Not all states require that `~ hmmm.. Why not? is it to difficult for some to come up with proof to vote? In my community we have 18 years olds voting while they are still in school. Tis rare but does occur. I would call that a progressive community that loves to be involved...

Del R.




11:53AM PDT on Jul 5, 2013

Oh...and Del R.....I never quite said that you ever did 'sin by silence'. I was merely pinting out to you that it might be better for you to 'sin' in that manner, than to do so in a loud and public voice here on Care2. But I see that you prefer to sin quite loudly and proudly. Be my entertaining guest......

11:43AM PDT on Jul 5, 2013

--- cont. ---

But how about this, Del R: instead of acting like a spoiled little school girl playing 'victim', why don't you man-up and try to address the issue with a cogent analysis of facts?

11:41AM PDT on Jul 5, 2013

Del R. -- I have trouble staying on point? Your rant provided NOTHING that is material to the story or to my reaction to your first round of drivel. You flail around like a fly that's been swatted....

No one is saying that people shouldn't have to register to vote. They do. And sometimes there are misconceptions, ignorance etc. on the part of candidate voters, and that leads to people not getting to register properly and not getting to vote. Where is the fraud there?...and no one claims this to be politically motivated disenfranchisment. Plain and simple: there is no documentation of significant numbers of non-legally registered people voting......no matter your own anecdotal concoctions.

But legally registered voters being hampered from voting due to contrived traffic jams, lack of voting machines, dissemination of purposeful misinformation...and so on and so on....these are DOCUMENTED, real problems, almost all of which are perpetrated by YOUR party (which of course is the reason you ignore and discount them).

So I REPEAT for the mentally challenged: a section of law that has ACTUALLY been successful in battling the REAL problem of voter disenfranchisement has been overturned in order to address the NON-EXISTENT problem of non-registered voters. And this is what you twits on the 'right' call "common sense"? I'm sorry if calling you out like this -- i.e. challenging your purposeful ignorance -- makes you feel bullied. But how about this: instead of acting l

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