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Five Supreme Court Justices just rolled back the most effective civil rights provision in our nation's history. What should we d

Five Supreme Court Justices just rolled back the most effective civil rights provision in our nation's history. What should we do now?

One option is to declare "mission accomplished" and forget about race in politics.

That, however, will not work. Although we have made amazing progress in the past fifty years, too many state and local politicians still maintain power by manipulating election rules.

Nueces County, Texas, provides one example. After the rapidly growing Latino community surpassed 56% of its population, the county gerrymandered local election districts to diminish the influence of Latino voters. The Voting Rights Act blocked Nueces County's gerrymandering in 2012, but now that the Court has rolled back the Act, state and local politicians will have more opportunities to manipulate voting rules.

Voting rights protections are still needed, and it is feasible to design up-to-date and adequate protections. While today's Supreme Court decision is a setback, Congress has the power to do the right thing and update the Voting Rights Act.

Republicans and Democrats should agree to modernize the Voting Rights Act based on two principles: (1) updating the Act's preclearance and litigation provisions; and (2) requiring disclosure.

Update Preclearance & Litigation

The preclearance process of the Voting Rights Act applied to all or part of 15 states, and required those areas to submit proposed changes in voting rules to federal officials for approval. The Supreme Court held that the coverage formula requiring preclearance by some states but not others was outdated because it was based on election data from the 1964, 1968, and 1972 elections.

Congress should update the coverage formula to require that states and localities with recent voting rights violations preclear new election law changes. In addition, states and localities that violate voting rights in the future should be required to preclear their election law changes.

Congress should also update the voting rights litigation process. The law needs to stop unfair election rules before they are used and harm voters. For example, the updated Act should bolster the process for obtaining a court order to stop unfair rules from being used in an election. States and localities generally have more information about their proposed election law changes, and the updated Act should shift more responsibility to states and localities to show that a change is fair. Further, litigation standards designed for redistricting cases should be updated to more effectively address other problems--such as hurdles to casting a ballot.

Require Disclosure

Congress should also update the Voting Rights Act to require that states and localities with significant minority populations disclose election law changes via an online portal that is open to review by the public. States and localities should disclose the reasons for the changes, their anticipated effect on minority voters, and demographic data about the area.

Like the preclearance requirement, the disclosure rules should be comprehensive. The effects of all new election rules would be public, and this transparency would deter many unfair rules. Disclosure would increase states' compliance with the Act and thereby reduce the amount and cost of litigation. Increased transparency would help federal officials and voting rights groups detect trends, devise non-litigation solutions where appropriate, and concentrate finite litigation resources on the most significant problems. While disclosure does not solve all problems, it can add value, as it does with securities trading, mergers that may trigger antitrust concerns, environmental impact statements, and campaign finance disclosure.

An updated Voting Rights Act will help not just voters of color, but our nation as a whole. Removing voting barriers and deterring politicians from manipulating election rules improves democracy for all Americans. Protecting voting rights also provides legitimacy to our nation's efforts to promote democracy and prevent corruption around the world.

This is a critical moment. Public attention on the Supreme Court's decision presents an opportunity to update the Voting Rights Act in Congress. But eventually public interest will fade, and the chance to update the Act will be lost. Congress must start the process now.

by Anonymousreply 1806/26/2013

If we have to count on Congress we're fucked.

by Anonymousreply 106/25/2013

OP, I think your premise pales next to the 13th Amendment as THE most effective civil rights provision in our nation's history.

by Anonymousreply 206/25/2013

Get out and get identification cards for all of the poor people. That's what this is all about, isn't it? There is no reason that everyone who votes shouldn't have an ID. Take some of that money spent frivolously by the Dems and put it into getting people registered with identification.Otherwise, Republicans will win. It's that simple.

by Anonymousreply 306/25/2013

exactly. instead of wringing our hands, the Dems should institute a massive campaign to get people photo ids

by Anonymousreply 406/25/2013

It goes beyond the IDs though. In NC, they're now looking to end early voting and same day registration. I'm sure we'll see similar moves in GOP-lead general assemblies nationwide.

by Anonymousreply 506/25/2013

The Court only said that Congress can't punish states in 2013 based on data from 1965 that everyone agrees is invalid. How difficult is that to digest? They said if Congress makes new restrictions based on current data, that could work.

The hysteria factor here and in the liberal media is astonishing.

by Anonymousreply 606/25/2013

Thank you, R6. The ruling removes only the requirement that states with discriminatory histories based upon old data (southern states, of course) are no longer required to go the extra step and get approval before changing voting laws. That old data is not accurate any longer anyway. Now, ALL states are in parity in terms of Congressional approval. It is not a free for all do anything you want because it is "unmonitored' situation.

Anyone with standing can file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of changes to voting laws in these suspect states. You don't think the photo ID laws are fair? SUE. Put it before the courts. Get an injunction. That is what advocacy is for. That is what public advocate lawyers do.

by Anonymousreply 706/25/2013

Wow look at the vile right wing Freeper scum in this thread.

by Anonymousreply 806/25/2013

I think this is a case of give the repubs an inch and they'll take a mile. They'll get carried away like usual and within a year you'll see Southern states back to literacy tests to vote. What will happen is that the republicans will effectively stop any minority and a good portion of the white population from EVER joining or voting the republican party

by Anonymousreply 906/25/2013

Oh, shut up. I am not a freeper but an injunction would stop a voting law in it's tracks, would it not? I don't agree with the Court's decision but it also is not "voter armageddon" that people are pooping their pants about. A poor person need only get a public advocate lawyer to file a lawsuit. My point is, THERE IS A WAY TO CHECK a new statute requiring photo IDs, isn't there? We are not in an election year, anyway. At least a national election year. The Repubs are not going to be able to steamroll a discriminatory new voting law without resistance.

by Anonymousreply 1006/25/2013

It isn't just the ID. They are taking away weekend voting and Souls to the Polls and early voting. All these things are important to poor people who cannot take time away from their minimum wage jobs to vote or they'll be fired.

They are looking for every way possible to make it as difficult as can be for the poor to vote. It's not going to hurt rick people color. It's all about class warfare.

by Anonymousreply 1106/25/2013

[quote]What should we do now?

We should make sure there is never another Republican appointed to the Court.

by Anonymousreply 1206/25/2013

The five Supreme Court justices in the majority for this decision are douchebags.

by Anonymousreply 1306/25/2013

r11 gets it.

by Anonymousreply 1406/26/2013

What's the problem with having a photo ID in order to vote? Those who do not have a photo ID....why? Is this an effort to escape outstanding warrents, pay past Child Support obligations, pay income tax, ect?

by Anonymousreply 1506/26/2013

I'm so sick of ignorant tools like R15 always asking that same goddamned ignorant question over and over again, NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES IT'S FUCKING EXPLAINED TO THEM.

How fucking blind can some idiot be? Jesus.

by Anonymousreply 1606/26/2013

Demand legislation that any state changing any voting law receive federal approval to do so, and that it not be limited to states with a history of discrimination, since in 2013 any and all manner of states are engaged in sabotaging the rights of people to vote.

by Anonymousreply 1706/26/2013

Well thank God I'm white.

by Anonymousreply 1806/26/2013
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