A federal court could rule soon on challenges to North Carolina’s photo ID requirement for voters, which plaintiffs claim undermines the voting rights of racial minorities under the pretext of combating fraud. A federal appeals court held last year that a similar requirement in Texas violated the Voting Rights Act. But even if these and other judicial rulings roll back photo ID laws and other restrictions that disproportionately burden racial minorities, the real solution lies with Congress. Republicans who control the House and Senate need to look beyond partisan self-interest and join with Democrats to reinstitute the requirement that, in jurisdictions with a recent history of discrimination, the federal government must “pre-clear” changes in election laws that could needlessly make it harder for minorities to vote.
It is Congress, after all, that is responsible for enforcing the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection of the laws, and the 15th Amendment, which prohibits abridgment of the right to vote on account of race. And it is Congress that must undo the damage done to the Voting Rights Act by a 2013 Supreme Court decision that gutted one of its key provisions.
That wrongheaded ruling, which struck down Congress’ formula for deciding which states must get their election changes “pre-cleared” by the Justice Department or a federal court, left intact other provisions of the landmark 1965 law, including a nationwide prohibition of racial discrimination in voting.
Full Article: Congress must act to restore voting rights – LA Times.