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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 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with South Carolina close behind — that were covered by the very Voting Rights Act formula that the Supreme Court ruled outdated and unconstitutional.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.”

Dolores Huerta, a longtime civil and labor rights activist who organized farmworkers with Cesar Chavez, told reporters the study indicates another trend she called “appalling.”

“As the Latino community grows in numbers and their influence grows in the political process, discrimination also seems to be growing,” she said. “It is sad to see how legislation and practices have continued unabated against people of Latino descent.”

Huerta and others involved in the National Commission on the Voting Rights said their research found that modern day voter suppression takes a variety of forms, and not all of them have received the kind of media and political attention garnered by controversial gerrymandering and voter ID laws.

Huerta pointed to states that disenfranchise former felons after they have served out their sentences, or charge them hefty fines to have their voting rights restored. Arnwine also mentioned dozens of documented violations involving the local government’s failure to provide ballots and information in other languages, which they are required to do by law.

Vice-Chair Leon Russell of the NAACP added: “When I attended hearings [on voting rights] in Florida and Mississippi, we saw continuing barriers to equal participation. We saw long lines created intentionally, either by not having enough polling places in certain areas, or not having enough machines at those places. Some counties in Florida even got rid of bathrooms at the polls, which makes it harder not just for people with disabilities, but for everyone.”

The report comes on the heels of another study debunking the main justification used for passing many of the controversial voting laws in question: fraud.

Harvard Professor Justin Levitt surveyed more than a billion votes cast in general, primary, special, and municipal elections across the US from 2000 through 2014, and found only 31 credible instances of voter impersonation. And many of those 31 were never confirmed and prosecuted.

Source; Alice Ollstein for ThinkProgress

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

Today Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and John Conyers (D-MI) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will introduce legislation to strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last June invalidating a critical section of the VRA. The legislation, known as “The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014,” represents the first attempt by a bipartisan group in Congress to reinstate the vital protections of the VRA that the Supreme Court took away.

In the Shelby County v. Holder ruling on June 25, 2013, the Court’s conservative majority struck down Section 4 of the VRA, the formula that compelled specific states with a well-documented history of voting discrimination to clear their voting changes with the federal government under Section 5 of the VRA. The two provisions were always meant to work together; without Section 4, Section 5 became a zombie, applying to zero states.

Section 4 covered nine states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia) and parts of six others (in California, Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota) based on evidence of voting discrimination against blacks and other minority groups dating back to the 1960s and 1970s. Since the Shelby decision, eight states previously covered under Section 4 have passed or implemented new voting restrictions. This includes onerous new laws in states like North Carolina and Texas, which the Justice Department objected to under other provisions of the VRA (Sections 2 and 3).

The Sensenbrenner-Conyers-Leahy bill strengthens the VRA in five distinct ways:

1: The legislation draws a new coverage formula for Section 4, thereby resurrecting Section 5. States with five violations of federal law to their voting changes over the past fifteen years will have to submit future election changes for federal approval. This new formula would currently apply to Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Local jurisdictions would be covered if they commit three or more violations or have one violation and “persistent, extremely low minority turnout” over the past fifteen years.

The formula is based on a rolling calendar, updated with a current fifteen-year time period to exempt states who are no longer discriminating or add new ones who are, creating a deterrent against future voting rights violations. It’s based on empirical conditions and current data, not geography or a fixed time period—which voting rights advocates hope will satisfy Chief Justice John Roberts should the new legislation be enacted and reach the Supreme Court.

The new Section 4 proposal is far from perfect. It does not apply to states with an extensive record of voting discrimination, like Alabama (where civil rights protests in Selma gave birth to the VRA), Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, which were previously subject to Section 5. Nor does it apply to states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that have enacted new voting restrictions in the past few years.

Moreover, rulings against voter ID laws—like in Texas in 2012—will not count as a new violation. Voter ID laws can still be blocked by the Department of Justice or federal courts in the new states covered under Section 4, but that will not be included as one of the five violations needed to keep the state covered. This exemption for voter ID laws was written to win the support of House majority leader Eric Cantor and other Republicans.

2: The legislation strengthens Section 3 of the VRA, which has been described as the Act’s “secret weapon.” Under Section 3, jurisdictions not covered by Section 4 could be “bailed-in” to federal supervision, but plaintiffs had to show evidence of intentional voting discrimination, which is very difficult to do in court. Under the new Section 3 proposal, any violation of the VRA or federal voting rights law—whether intentional or not—can be grounds for a bail-in, which will make it far easier to cover new states. (One major caveat, again, is that court objections to voter ID laws cannot be used as grounds for “bail-in” under Section 3.)

3: The legislation mandates that jurisdictions in all fifty states have to provide notice in the local media and online of any election procedures related to redistricting changes within 120 days before a federal election and the moving of a polling place. This will make it easier for citizens to identify potentially harmful voting changes in the forty-six states not subject to Sections 4 and 5.

4: The legislation makes it easier to seek a preliminary injunction against a potentially discriminatory voting law. Plaintiffs will now only have to show that the hardship to them outweighs the hardship to the state if a law is blocked in court pending a full trial. There will be a preliminary injunction hearing on North Carolina’s voting law in July 2014, before the full trial takes place July 2015.

5: The legislation reaffirms that the attorney general can send federal observers to monitor elections in states subject to Section 4 and expands the AG’s authority to send observers to jurisdictions with a history of discriminating against language minority groups, which includes parts of twenty-five states.

The bill is certain to have its critics, including on the left. Voting rights supporters will argue, justifiably, that the new Section 4 formula does not apply to enough states and wrongly treats voter ID laws differently than other discriminatory voting changes. Despite these flaws, the legislation represents a significant improvement over the disastrous post-Shelby status quo, which has seen states like North Carolina and Texas rush to pass blatantly discriminatory voting restrictions after being freed from federal oversight. The legislation strengthens voting rights protections in a number of tangible ways and gives the federal government and voting rights advocates new tools to combat voting discrimination.

The sponsors of the bill have a lot of credibility on this issue. Sensenbrenner, as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, shepherded through the 2006 reauthorization of the VRA—which passed 390-33 in the House and 98-0 in the Senate. Conyers first entered Congress in 1965, the year of the VRA’s passage, and has served on the House Judiciary Committee ever since. Leahy is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has recently worked with Sensenbrenner on reforming the NSA.

The problem of contemporary voting discrimination ultimately requires a solution that only Congress can provide. It was Congress, after all, that passed the VRA in 1965 in response to the failure of litigation to stop the mass disenfranchisement of black voters in the South. Yes, yes, I realize that a Congress that can scarcely do more than name a Post Office nowadays is not likely to resurrect the VRA any time soon—especially when so much of the GOP is devoted to erecting new barriers to the ballot box. But now that there’s legislation on the table, members of Congress face a choice: Do you want to make it easier or harder for people to vote? The question, and answer, is really that simple.

h/t: Ari Berman at The Nation

h/t: Ari Berman at The Nation


For years, Augusta, Georgia, has held its local elections in November, when turnout is high. But last year, state Republicans changed the election date to July, when far fewer blacks make it to the polls.  

The effort was blocked under the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by the federal government, which cited the harm that the change would do to minorities. But now that the Supreme Court has badly weakened the landmark civil rights law, the move looks to be back on. The city’s African-Americans say they know what’s behind it.

“It’s a maneuver to suppress our voting participation,” Dr. Charles Smith, the president of Augusta’s NACCP branch, told msnbc.

The dispute is flaring at a time when Georgia, long deep-red, is becoming increasingly politically competitive, and Democrats have nominated two candidates with famous names for high-profile statewide races next year.

Voting rights experts say the events in Augusta may be a sign of what’s to come—or even of what’s already happening. In June, the Supreme Court invalidated Section 5 of the VRA, which had required certain jurisdictions, mostly in the south, to submit election changes to the federal government to ensure they didn’t harm minority voters. Since then, harsh voting restrictions put in place by several southern states have generated national news coverage—Texas’ voter ID law and North Carolina’s sweeping voting bill most prominent among them. But most of the changes stopped by Section 5 weren’t statewide laws. Instead, they were measures adopted at the local or county level.

“It’s school boards, and county commissions, and city councils, and water districts, and police juries,” Julie Fernandes, a former top voting-rights official at the Justice Department, said last week at apanel on voting rights. “It’s all the stuff that really, really, really matters to folks all over the country, where they live.”

So it’s no surprise that since the high court’s ruling, smaller jurisdictions from Georgia to Arizona are moving to change election rules in ways that undermine hard-won minority political power. Donita Judge, a staff attorney with the Advancement Project, a civil-rights organization, said these kind of local election changes deserve more focused attention.

“In many ways, those type of elections are the ones that really impact you day-to-day,” Judge told msnbc. “We have to keep our eyes on those areas also.”

In Augusta, a city with a troubled history of race bias in elections, conservatives reached back over a century to unearth a tactic that was used to keep blacks from the polls during Jim Crow: changing the date of elections.

Last year, Rep. Barbara Sims, a Republican who represents the area, pushed a law through Georgia’s GOP-controlled legislature that applied only to Augusta. Against the clear wishes of the city council, the law moved the city’s elections for mayor and city council from the day of the general election in November to the day of the primaries in July.

Sims said at the time the goal was to establish uniformity with other non-partisan local elections in the state, which had been moved to July under previous legislation that applied only to counties, not cities.

But local Democrats and minorities saw the law as a bid to lower turnout among blacks, who usually vote in much higher numbers in November general elections, which tend to have a high profile, than they do in less-publicized primaries.

That figures to be particularly true next year, when two highly anticipated statewide races are likely to draw black voters to the polls in the fall. Jimmy Carter’s grandson, Jason Carter, is challenging the incumbent Republican governor, Nathan Deal. And Michelle Nunn, the daughter of longtime Georgia senator Sam Nunn, is running for an open U.S. Senate seat that could help determine control of the chamber. Adding to the intensity of the partisan conflict, there’s growing talk that, as with Texas, demographic trends could slowly be turning Georgia blue.

A close look at turnout numbers bears out the concern that the change in Augusta will hurt minorities. Seventy-five percent of Augusta blacks voted in the November 2012 general election, while just 33% did so in the July primaries. By comparison, 73% of whites voted in November, and 43% voted in July, according to U.S. Justice Department figures. 2010 showed a similar pattern. In other words, moving the election from November to July would likely lead to a sharp decline in voting among both blacks and whites—in itself an argument against the change—but the drop-off would be bigger among blacks.

Turnout rates are often the key factor in election results in Augusta, where blacks make up a slim majority of the population. If black and white turnout is roughly equal, as it tends to be in November, black and black-supported candidates can win. If whites turn out at a higher rate, as they usually do in July, white conservative candidates get a major boost.

Among the candidates likely to be harmed by the election change is state Sen. Hardie Davis, an African-American Democrat running for mayor.

Citing those turnout numbers, the Justice Department blocked the change last December under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, finding that it would reduce the political power of Augusta’s blacks. 

“Although the change affects only Augusta-Richmond, it does not appear to have been requested by local citizens or officials,” a Justice Department official wrote in a letter to Georgia officials. “There is no evidence that the legislation’s sponsors informed, much less sought the views of the local delegation, minority legislators, or local officials about the change at any point.”

This wasn’t the first time the Feds had stepped in to block changes that they concluded would hurt Augusta’s black citizens. As the Justice Department noted, there was even a previous effort in Augusta to move the election from November to July, blocked by DoJ in 1989.

But then came the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. Deciding that the South had made enough progress on race relations since the 1960s, the court declared the formula behind Section 5 unconstitutional, neutering the provision unless Congress acts.

That led the office of Georgia’s attorney general to conclude that the move to July could go forward. The secretary of state still needs to rule on the issue, and lawsuits are expected whatever the outcome. But it currently looks more likely than not that the election will be moved.

If it is, Augusta would join a growing list of places where conservatives have taken advantage of the Shelby County ruling to institute changes that diminish the political influence of local blacks and Hispanics.

As msnbc reported last monthShelby gave a key boost to a group of white conservatives in Beaumont, Texas, who have been pushing to oust the black majority of the local school board. Not far away in the city of Pasadena, just east of Houston, Shelby also emboldened conservatives to pass a voter initiative this month that changes the way council districts are drawn up, likely reducing the council’s Hispanic representation. Galveston County, also in southeast Texas, seized on Shelby to push forward in August with a plan that would reduce the number of minority justices of the peace, a version of which had been blocked under Section 5 last year. And Arizona is now moving forward with a plan to add two at-large members to the district community college board for Maricopa County, which had been blocked under Section 5 because it would dilute minority representation on the board.

Those cases may just be the tip of the iceberg. Without Section 5’s preclearance requirement, there’s no longer an effective way for national voting-rights advocates and the federal government to find out about ground-level changes.

“We, and I’m sure the Department of Justice as well, are all trying to figure out how we’re going to learn about those kinds of changes at the local level now,” Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s voting-rights project, told msnbc. “I just have a hard time believing this is the only thing happening out there. But right now we don’t know.”

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) — who was the youngest speaker during the March on Washington in 1963 — delivered a passionate address about the importance of protecting voting rights at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial fifty years later, as thousands gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the historic event on Saturday.

“When I stood here 50 years ago, I said one man, one vote is the African cry. It is ours, too. it must be ours,” he began, before connecting the demands of 1963 to today’s struggles. “Almost 50 years ago, I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama, for the right to vote. I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us!”

LEWIS: You cannot stand by. You cannot sit down. You have to stand up, speak up, speak out and get in the way. Make some noise. The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It’s the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society and we’ve got to use it. Back in 1963 we didn’t have a cellular telephone, iPad, iPod, but we used what we had to bring about a non-violent revolution. And I said to all of the young people, you must get out there and push and pull and make America what America should be for all of us. We must say to the Congress, ‘Fix the Voting Rights Act’

Watch it:

Since the Supreme Court struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act that allowed the federal government to decide if voting changes in states with histories of disenfranchisement are discriminatory, at least six states have renewed efforts to pass voter ID measures, redistricting maps that could divide and weaken minority voting blocks, and other voter suppression measures.

North Carolina became the first to enact what some are describing as “the worst voter suppression law” in the country. The measure mandates strict voter ID to cast a ballot, reduces the number of early voting days by a week, eliminates same-day voter registration during the early voting period, eliminates flexibility in opening early voting sites at different hours within a county and ends pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds, among other changes.

Earlier on Saturday, Attorney General Eric Holder, whose department is considering a challenge to the law, said equal access to the ballot box is a key part of advancing “our nation’s quest for justice.” “This morning, we affirm that this struggle must, and will, go on in the cause of our nation’s quest for justice – until every eligible American has the chance to exercise his or her right to vote, unencumbered by discriminatory or unneeded procedures, rules, or practices,” he said. The Justice Department is suing to stop Texas’ restrictive voter ID law and is also seeking a declaration from the court that the state’s legislative and congressional maps were redrawn specifically to hurt minority voting power.

“So hang in there, keep the faith,” Lewis extolled. “I got arrested 40 times during the ’60s, beaten, bloodied and unconscious. I’m not tired, I’m not weary. I’m not prepared to sit down and give up. I am ready to fight and continue to fight, and you must fight.”

h/t: Igor Volsky at Think Progress Justice


New restrictions have been popping up in states across the south since the Voting Rights Act was essentially gutted last month.

It’s one more reason why the right to vote needs to be protected:

Which state are you most concerned about?

(via recall-all-republicans)

Justice Department Texas VRA Filing

Hank Sanders grew up in segregated, rural southern Alabama and in 1971 moved to Selma—the birthplace of the Voting Rights Act. Before the VRA, only 393 of the 15,000 black voting-age residents in Dallas County, where Selma is located, were registered to vote. Less than a year later, after federal registrars arrived in August 1965, more than 10,000 black voters had been added to the rolls. Sanders experienced firsthand how the VRA transformed Selma and the rest of the country. In 1983, he became the first African-American state senator from the Alabama Black Belt since Reconstruction, representing a new majority-black district created by the VRA. 

Thirty years later, Sanders watched in disbelief this June as the Supreme Court overturned the centerpiece of the VRA in Shelby County v. Holder. “It’s the most destructive Supreme Court decision in my lifetime,” Sanders said. “It reverses the very foundation of all the progress that we have made.” Reactions in Selma, he said, “ranged from shock to resignation.” 

The Court’s conservative majority struck down Section 4 of the law, which determines how states are covered under Section 5—the vital provision that requires states with the worst history of racial discrimination in voting, dating back to the 1960s and ’70s, to clear electoral changes with the federal government. Without Section 4, there’s no Section 5. The most effective provision of the country’s most important civil rights law is now a ghost unless Congress resurrects it. 

“We have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his dissent on the Defense of Marriage Act. Yet that reasoning didn’t stop Scalia and Chief Justice John Roberts from gutting the VRA, which has been overwhelmingly reauthorized four times by Congress (1970, 1975, 1982, 2006) and signed by four Republican presidents (Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush). “The Voting Rights Act became one of the most consequential, efficacious, and amply justified exercises of federal legislative power in our Nation’s history,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her fiery dissent. 

The Roberts majority struck down Section 4 for violating the “‘fundamental principle of equal sovereignty’ among the States,” an argument with roots in Southern segregationist opposition to Reconstruction. (In a biting rebuke, Judge Richard Posner, the pre-eminent legal theorist at the University of Chicago, wrote that “there is no such principle” of constitutional law and that “the opinion rests on air.”) The Roberts decision ignored 250 years of slavery in America, nearly 100 years of Jim Crow and fifty years of persistent attempts to subvert the VRA. The Justice Department blocked 1,116 discriminatory voting changes from taking effect under Section 5 from 1965 to 2004 and objected to thirty-seven electoral proposals after Congress reauthorized the law in 2006. “The Supreme Court didn’t recognize the degree to which voter suppression is still a problem around the country,” President Obama, visiting Senegal, said following the decision. 

Freed from Section 5, the states of the Old Confederacy will dust off the pre-1965 playbook, passing onerous new voting restrictions that can be challenged only through a preliminary injunction or after years of lengthy litigation, often in hostile Southern courts, with the burden of proof now on those facing discrimination rather than on those who discriminate. “Without Section 5, all kinds of things will be passed to limit the right to vote,” says Sanders. “I can’t anticipate all the creativity we will run into.” Immediately after the decision, five Southern states—Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia—rushed to implement new voter-ID laws that disproportionately affect young and minority voters. Voting changes found to be discriminatory by a federal court last year—like the Texas voter-ID law—will go into effect. (“Eric Holder can no longer deny #VoterID in #Texas,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott tweeted the morning of the decision.) Beyond voter ID, states like North Carolina are close to drastically cutting early voting and eliminating same-day registration. According to the Advancement Project, a Washington civil rights organization, “Eleven out of the 15 states covered by Section 5 enacted, or are pursuing, restrictive voting laws this year.” 

It remains to be seen whether a Congress that can scarcely do more than name post offices is capable of rewriting the country’s most important civil rights law. The chairs of the Senate and House Judiciary committees have pledged to hold hearings soon, and prominent Republicans like James Sensenbrenner, Eric Cantor and Chuck Grassley have expressed openness to a legislative fix. The GOP caucus is whiter, more conservative and more Southern than it was during the last reauthorization, although opposition to a new VRA could prove disastrous for a party now embarking, at least rhetorically, on a well-publicized “rebranding.” Nancy Pelosi has suggested a name for the new law, after the man who nearly died marching in Selma for voting rights: the John Lewis Voting Rights Act [see Berman, “John Lewis’s Long Fight for Voting Rights,” June 24/July 1]. 

The VRA decision could produce a significant backlash among minority voters, just as the voter suppression attempts of 2012 spurred black turnout, which surpassed white turnout for the first time in US history. In much the same way that the VRA’s passage in 1965 spurred counter-mobilization drives by the likes of George Wallace, which registered hundreds of thousands of conservative white voters in the 1960s, so too could the loss of Section 5 motivate a new wave of minority voting activism. “The election of 2012 put voting rights back on the map, because people saw the extent to which politicians would go to suppress the vote,” says Browne-Dianis. “This decision is going to take it to the next level. People now get that it’s not only these state legislatures, but it’s the courts that are rolling back voting rights. Many people feel like, ‘It’s not going to happen on our watch.’”

h/t: The Nation 

North Carolina state Sen. Tom Apodaca, the Republican chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, is working on a package of election law changes that would curb — perhaps end — early voting, Sunday voting and same-day voter registration, the Los Angeles Times reported this weekend.

Before the Supreme Court’s ruling, 40 of North Carolina’s 100 counties needed to receive Justice Department pre-clearance before making changes to voting procedures. Without Section 4, which the Court said last week is unconstitutional, the state can now make many changes it wants without getting Washington’s approval.

Say what you will about any individual lawmaker’s motivations, there are undeniable political ramifications for curbing early voting. Research indicates that Democratic voters disproportionately use in-person early voting, while Republican voters are more likely to vote by absentee ballot, according to Chelsea Brossard at the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College.

And statistics from North Carolina back that research up: More than 1.2 million Democrats cast ballots during the 17 days of early voting in 2012, while about 800,000 Republicans did the same. African American voters were more likely to cast a ballot during the early period than they were on Election Day, according to statistics compiled by the United States Elections Project at George Mason University.

The numbers couldn’t be clearer: In 2012, blacks accounted for just 8.7 percent of absentee ballots cast in North Carolina, while whites accounted for 86.4 percent. Blacks accounted for 28.9 percent of all early votes cast; 65.8 percent of early votes were cast by white voters, according to Michael McDonald, who runs the U.S. Elections Project. Republicans made up half of all absentee voters and 30 percent of early voters; Democrats made up just over a quarter of absentee votes and 49.1 percent of early voters.

(via rabbleprochoice)

Markos at Daily Kos

We’ve had plenty of coverage on today’s Supreme Court decision gutting the Voting Rights Act, hereherehere and here.

Conservatives all around the country now have the green light to push every effort to disenfranchise voters—from curtailing voting hours, to imposing draconian identification requirements, to the dilution of the voting power of communities of color via even more egregious gerrymandering.

Remember, conservatives are on the outs with the changing face of America. Mitt Romney won the white vote by 20 points, 59-39, those white voters were 72 percent of all voters, and Republicans still lost the election. Last year, more white people died than were born, for the first time perhaps ever. And of the 2.4 million new Americans last year, just seven percent were white—and all of those were immigrants (hence, our whites, not theirs).


So what’s left? Keep those brown, black, young, and Asian people from voting. Make it impossible for college students to cast ballots on campus. Limit the number of voting machines in urban precincts so Democratic base groups have to wait hours in line to vote (many will abandon their effort), while ensuring there are plenty of machines available in suburban Republican precincts. Keep felons off the voting rolls, even after they’ve paid their debt to society. Create voter ID laws so restrictive, that even drivers licenses aren’t good enough to vote.

In 2012, voter disenfranchisement efforts backfired on the GOP, as African Americans voted in record numbers—outpacing white turnout rates. But Republicans don’t have any other answers, so the partisan Supreme Court gave them a hefty assist. None of the five judges on the majority want a Democratic president naming their replacement. This is it, their final play for any semblance of long-term viability. If this fails, they, as a party, have failed.

Things are going to be ugly over the next few years, as the GOP’s war on voting gets amped to whole new levels. We on the left must remain vigilant, educate our voters about these efforts, make sure those disenfranchisement efforts continue to backfire.