William Crandell: Voting rights threatened by court rulingPublished 1:51pm Friday, July 26, 2013
Last month, the United States Supreme Court tore apart sections 4 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In a 5 to 4 vote along ideological lines, the conservative members of the court ruled that several districts and states, including Michigan, no longer have to gain approval from the United States Justice Department prior to instituting laws relating to voting. Each of these entities has a history of voter discrimination against blacks and minorities.
Justice Scalia, in his written opinion, stated that the sections of the Voting Rights Act were a perpetuation of racial entitlement. Another justice went so far as to question whether racism even existed in our country anymore. This ruling demonstrates another example of the poisonous nature of the modern GOP and their willingness to go to any lengths to hold onto power for wealthy white America.
Since 1965, the Voting Rights Act has stopped more than 1,000 discriminatory voting laws from being implemented and is still relevant despite the court’s ruling. For instance, in 2011, Republicans in 41 states attempted to change their voting laws to make it more difficult for minorities to cast their ballots because they tend to vote Democrat. Some of the laws passed to suppress their votes were requiring voter ID, attempting to eliminate early voting, redistricting and closing polling locations to make longer lines, frustrating voters in urban areas. In fact, within hours of the Supreme Court decision last week, the state of Texas moved to implement redistricting and voter identification measures the federal courts had blocked last year after ruling that they were discriminatory under the Voting Rights Act. I think these attempts to suppress the minority votes in GOP dominated states is more than enough justification to question the Supreme Courts’ decision, and, more importantly, their motives for making such a decision.
The Justices of the Supreme Court also wrote that now it is up to the Republican led congress to approve the Voting Rights Act and include provisions that will eliminate discriminatory laws. But by doing so, they are asking the American people to put their trust in a group of individuals who have consistently ignored the needs of their constituents to embrace a radical agenda that has hurt this country and attempted to silence anyone who has the courage to stand against them. Their actions in the past have proven that they have no qualms about cheating to win an election, and that’s what suppressing a citizen’s right to vote is, cheating.
The GOP has incessantly alienated African-American voters, other minorities and women. They understand that they can no longer win the White House on their merits.
I can’t think of anything more destructive to the American spirit than to deny groups the right to vote because of fear of the ballot that they might cast.
William Crandell is an active member of the Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Democratic Party. He is also a member of the South County Democratic Club where he has served as their communications director and as the chairperson of the SCDC Blue Tiger Community Action Committee.
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