July 18, 2013
On Voting Rights, Discouraging Signs From the Hill

So long as lawmakers focus upon protecting against voter fraud that doesn’t exist, there will be no quick remedy for the federal law. So long as lawmakers downplay the disastrous impact of restrictive voter identification laws upon the poor, the elderly, and the ill, there will be no urgency to restore what the Court has eliminated. So long as officials undercut the premise of the Voting Rights Act by contending that federal law should be “color-blind,” and that the Fifteenth Amendment must bow to the Tenth Amendment, we are in for an ugly fight if Section 4 is to be revised.
In a perfect world, Congress would acknowledge what we all see — that the current generation of voter suppression efforts is not limited to the South. The new “coverage formula” under Section 4 of the law would thus expand, not restrict, federal oversight over such practices. It would still block racially discriminatory voting practices now occurring in those jurisdictions long covered by the voting law. But it would also block partisan ruses occurring in states that aren’t — like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Indeed, this very week a trial is underway over the fate of Pennsylvania’s restrictive new photo identification law. Our federal voting law should be clear: no state anywhere can get away with the suppression attempted before the 2012 election. 
Read more. [Image: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

On Voting Rights, Discouraging Signs From the Hill

So long as lawmakers focus upon protecting against voter fraud that doesn’t exist, there will be no quick remedy for the federal law. So long as lawmakers downplay the disastrous impact of restrictive voter identification laws upon the poor, the elderly, and the ill, there will be no urgency to restore what the Court has eliminated. So long as officials undercut the premise of the Voting Rights Act by contending that federal law should be “color-blind,” and that the Fifteenth Amendment must bow to the Tenth Amendment, we are in for an ugly fight if Section 4 is to be revised.

In a perfect world, Congress would acknowledge what we all see — that the current generation of voter suppression efforts is not limited to the South. The new “coverage formula” under Section 4 of the law would thus expand, not restrict, federal oversight over such practices. It would still block racially discriminatory voting practices now occurring in those jurisdictions long covered by the voting law. But it would also block partisan ruses occurring in states that aren’t — like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Indeed, this very week a trial is underway over the fate of Pennsylvania’s restrictive new photo identification law. Our federal voting law should be clear: no state anywhere can get away with the suppression attempted before the 2012 election.

Read more. [Image: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

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