New Report Documents Voter Suppression Efforts

A coalition of civil rights groups has released a report that pretty much puts the lie to the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Not only does voter discrimination and suppression still exist, it’s most likely in those states that have historically done so, the states that section 5 put additional requirements on.

Just over a year after the Supreme Court ruled that the nation has made so much progress on voting rights that key legal protections are no longer needed, a coalition of civil rights groups released a report documenting hundreds of voter discrimination and suppression cases. The organizations also called on Congress to rewrite the gutted section of the Voting Rights Act.

“Voters will be more vulnerable this November than they have been in decades,” said Barbara Arnwine, Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in a conference call with reporters. “Contrary to the Supreme Court’s assertion, voter discrimination is still rampant, and states continue to implement voting laws and procedures that disproportionately affect minorities.”

The report, released this week on the 49th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, counted 332 cases in the last two decades in which voters successfully sued for violations of their voting rights, or when the U.S. Department of Justice blocked a state or county’s attempt to change their voting laws in an unconstitutional way. They counted another ten instances in which aggrieved voters settled out of court.

Tellingly, the majority of the violations happened in a small handful of states — Texas, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, with South Carolina close behind — that were covered by the very Voting Rights Act formula that the Supreme Court ruled outdated and unconstitutional. As a result of the Court’s Shelby County decision, the Justice Department may no longer deploy federal observers to the formerly covered states to deter and report race-based voter suppression. The civil rights advocates that the loss of this federal monitoring program will result in “a substantial increase in voter intimidation.”

The solution to this is obvious, but can’t possibly pass with a Republican-controlled Congress that benefits in a big way from such voter suppression efforts. The solution is to rewrite the Voting Rights Act to put the strict safeguards that were previously placed only on some states on all of them.

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About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • raven

    The GOP/Tea Party are haters. Two of their main hates are…democracy and the United States.

    A recent article pointed out that the GOP keeps winning by cheating. Voter suppression and Gerrymandering. The Democrats won the House aggregate vote by over a million votes. The Gerrymander ate those votes.

    The article then claims this is unsustainable as the angry old white men of the GOP die off. Maybe, but it hasn’t happened yet. And in the long run, all of us are dead anyway.

  • raven

    …that pretty much puts the lie to the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

    1. True. This ruling was so wrong. The Court claimed racism was dead right when it is making a huge comeback. Polls show what is driving it. The US is on trend to become majority nonwhite in 2043.

    2. As even a federal judge has pointed out, this court could just quit for the rest of the decade. They’ve done so much damage to the USA that it might recover then. Or not. Voting rights, War on Women, selling the US government to the highest bidder.

    3. The betting is the Roberts court will be the most overturned court in a while. Maybe but this will take decades and I’ll be long gone. And this hope looks a lot like heaven or pots of gold at the end of rainbows. A nice thought but maybe not too realistic.

  • Modusoperandi

    Racism was over, but it came back on account of all of Obama’s race hustling. And also his War on White People. What do you think he wanted all those drones for?


    The civil rights advocates that the loss of this federal monitoring program will result in ‘a substantial increase in voter intimidation.’”

    “Voter intimidation”? Come on! There weren’t even any New Black Panthers!

  • corwyn

    So just to be clear: Ten times as many cases of voter suppression and fraudulent voting.

  • corwyn

    “…AS fraudulent voting.”

  • reddiaperbaby1942

    But Scalia says that racism is over in America.

    And Scalia is an honourable man.

    I’ve been thinking about this in connnection with the unarmed young black man in St. Louis, shot ten times — apparently for the capital crime of showing “attitude” to the cop. But Scalia, and these police officers, and all their ilk, are honourable men.