Subject: Supreme disappointment
By striking down Section 4, the Supreme Court just gutted the Voting Rights Act.
Just hours ago, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision in the case of Shelby County v. Holder that gutted a signature achievement of the Civil Rights Movement, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, placing millions of people of color, women and young people at the mercy of a dysfunctional Congress.
Without an amendment guaranteeing the freedom to vote, each state sets its own electoral rules, leading to confusing and sometimes contradictory policies with regard to polling hours, registration requirements, voting equipment, ex-felon rights and even ballot design. The result is an electoral system divided — separate and unequal.
For decades the Voting Rights Act has protected voters in pockets of the country with a history of racially discriminatory voting practices blocking more than 1,500 voting laws aimed at making it harder for us to vote. Just this past election, it allowed the Justice Department to block attempts by politicians in Texas, South Carolina and Florida to manipulate the voter rolls. Now that the Court has overturned Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, previously protected states such as these are now in limbo.
Current right-wing efforts to make it harder for people to vote are not bound by geography or a history of racial discrimination — they are widespread, targeted and coordinated. And when you really begin to dig into the types of right-wing voter suppression bills that are spreading across the country — discriminatory Voter ID laws, proof of citizenship requirements, laws that prevent groups like the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote from organizing registration drives, attempts to purge people with ethnic names from the rolls, and limits to weekend voting hours in urban communities — it is clear that far-right politicians are trying to keep the rising American majority of young people, women and people of color away from the polls.
Thanks and Peace,
Executive Director, ColorOfChange.org