The What: We Still Need Voting Rights

More ‘whats’, in policy change.

Or, in this case, policy not-change.

Because, let’s be real:

We still need The Voting Rights Act.

We’re in the era of evidence-based policymaking, right?

Has there ever been a more successful piece of civil rights legislation in the history of the U.S.? No, really?

And so the idea that its very effectiveness is reason to scrap it is not just offensive (and it is; I am fairly chilled by hearing an Alabama official refer to ‘state sovereignty’ as reason to oppose a federal civil rights law). It’s dangerous.

I’m all for the role of the courts in policymaking (more on that tomorrow).

I just think that the U.S. Supreme Court should rule that the Voting Rights Act stands.

I’m glad that there’s a tremendous amount of advocacy going on, even while the Court deliberates.

If you haven’t already checked out these compelling videos showing how VRA provisions in various affected states are making a difference in how people can exercise their civic rights, check them out.

Look at this really great (although, again, disturbing) infographic on why we still need the Voting Rights Act.

You can’t call Antonin Scalia to point out that, Mr. Justice Sir, the right to vote is not a “racial entitlement”, because, um, voting isn’t an entitlement. That’s why it’s called the Voting Rights Act (He, of course, took objection to that, too, supposedly because it makes the legislation too popular for members of Congress to vote against? Como on, two members of the Kansas congressional delegation voted against the Violence Against Women Act, for crying out loud. These people are not afraid of catchy names.)

But you can tell everyone who will listen (friends, family, neighbors, the guy waiting at the post office) that, yes, we still need the VRA. We still need voting rights, in this age of photo identification and proof of citizenship and long lines at fewer polling places.

People bled for the right to vote in Alabama. That history leaves scars, not just on individual psyches but on institutions and ways of doing business.

That is why we need the Voting Rights Act.


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