Advocacy groups here are reacting with frustration as several southern U.S. states have moved to enact stricter voting requirements in the wake of a recent Supreme Court decision that rolled back key legislation that had safeguarded minority voters for decades. Following last week’s five-to-four Supreme Court decision overturning a key part of the Voting Rights Act, nine southern states with a history of discriminatory voting requirements are now able to change their election laws without approval from the federal government. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, stating: “Our country has changed. While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation is passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.” Yet just 48 hours after the decision, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina announced plans to push through together voting restrictions that critics are warning could disenfranchise minority voters.
“Limiting the voices that can be heard is repugnant to what the country stands for,” Andrew Blotky, director of legal progress the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, told IPS. “We have always expanded the ability of people able to participate fully in our society, not restrict it.”
Just two hours after the Supreme Court decision came out, Texas announced that its voter identification law, requiring the presentation of a government-issued photo ID, would go into immediate effect.
Texas Governor Rick Perry also signed into law a new congressional voting map that is almost identical to the map that was ruled discriminatory last year, according to Kathy Culliton-Gonzalez, director of voter protection at the Advancement Project, an advocacy group.
“It’s not really that [southern states] weren’t treated equally; it’s about the fact that they earned this reputation to not be trusted,” Culliton-Gonzalez told IPS. “There is a reason that Texas, Mississippi, Florida and North Carolina were all covered in Section 4 [of the Voting Rights Act].”
Full Article: U.S. States Tighten Voter Restrictions | www.iede.co.uk.