Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Weakening Voting Rights Act Strengthens Voter ID, Other Curbs

Unfettered ballot access in America from sea-to-shining-sea? Not today, or for the foreseeable future.

The US Supreme Court, 5-4, has decided to weaken a section of The Voting Rights Act and let southern and southwestern states with a history of discrimination evade the needed scrutiny that had helped to ensure unfettered ballot access.

Big mistake, not only because racial and ethnic discrimination is alive and well in those states and across the country but because it will embolden voter-suppression friendly legislators and Governors in states like Wisconsin to add ID, registration and early/absentee voting restrictions that block minorities, students and lower-income citizens from fair, simple ballot access.

Not as overtly as poll taxes and literacy tests, but enough to penalize certain groups and swing elections. The politics of these issues pushed by conservative and partisan GOP interests is undeniable.

The country just cannot escape its past; the Court can't or won't recognize America, 2013, nor will a Congress where the Tea Party rules the House.

And both the Court and much of Congress operates by design and reflex the way that people in power, and especially those threatened by a more diverse electorate are wont to do,  refusing to let go of a scintilla of authority and control without scheming and fighting - - all undermining the democracy that keeps failing to measure up to high-falutin' words and ideals in old documents.


Anonymous said...

While this is a terrible opinion, in truth, what we really need is a voting rights act for all citizens in all states. Reps. Pocan and Ellison propose this: http://pocan.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/pocan-ellison-supreme-court-voting-rights-act-decision-demonstrates-need

I worry that our "do-nothing" Congress won't do anything on this either. But the Voting Rights Act did not go far enough to prevent all the disenfranchisement schemes the corporate class can come up with these days. We have an opportunity to replace it with something better.

The World Around Me said...

It is sad that I am not even shocked by this. And the very same legislators would not be in power if the voting rights were loosened.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

This decision is Exhibit A why we need federal used voting rules with federal enforcement of the law every 2 years in November (and whenever else there are elections for Congress).

2014 is payback time on all that would suppress the vote.

enoughalready said...

Let's face it: there are plenty of people in this country who do not believe in democracy.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Let's face it: there are plenty of people in this country who do not believe in democracy.

Well, not when it's practiced by minorities, they don't.

Gareth said...

Much thanks to the Supreme Court for lighting this stick of social dynamite. Voting will now become an act of rebellion against our repressive political order, a way to stick-it-to-the-man. It won't just be for old people any more.

Anonymous said...

One reason that voting has been under attack in Wisconsin, PA, Ohio, etc. is because the Voting Rights Act hamstrung them in southern states. They will use demographics of any kind, not just race, to try and limit the voter pool to those who would vote for their candidates. We certainly need voting protections and rights for all with strict enforcements and penalties.