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States rush to limit voting rights

Posted by on July 28, 2013 in Recent Cases - Comments Off on States rush to limit voting rights
North Carolina Governor Pat McCorey (seated) said he will soon sign bill that many consider to be historically anti-voter.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCorey (seated) said he will soon sign bill that many consider to be historically anti-voter.

Last month, The Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v Holder that the pre-clearance provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was unconstitutional.  As previously detailed by TeenJury, this provision required certain states with a history of racial voting discrimination to obtain permission from the U.S. Department of Justice prior to changing any voting laws. In a 5-4 decision, the majority concluded that the gains in minority voter registration in southern states was evidence that this section of the law was no longer necessary.  In her dissent, Justice Ginsburg, said that this logic was analogous to “throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”  In an AP interview with Mark Sherman, when asked about the sudden push by many states to enact laws designed to make voting more burdensome, especially for minorities, teenagers, and the elderly, she said, “I didn’t want to be right, but sadly I am.”  Kevin Drum at Mother Jones called the rush to disenfranchise minority voters a “feeding frenzy.”  Drum detailed the specifics of a recently passed North Carolina bill, which include requiring a voter ID at all polling places, reducing  early voting, preventing extensions in voting hours, stopping paid voter registration drives, and eliminating provisional ballots for those voters who mistakenly show up at the wrong voting location.  Additionally, it prevents 17 year-olds from registering in advance of their 18th birthday.  North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who is soon to sign this bill into law, was still unaware of parts of the bill, when questioned by an AP reporter, including its impact on teenagers.  Until the Court’s recent decision, such changes would have required pre-clearance by the Justice Department, and all of these modifications would have been struck down.  Without the protections of the Voting Rights Act, Republican-led statehouses look at these measures as a way of limiting Democratic-leaning groups from voting.  Superficially, legislators state that they are simply trying to address voter fraud, however both sides acknowledge that true voter fraud is exceedingly rare.  Attorney General Eric Holder announces this week that he plans on filing suit against Texas to stop their own newly exactly Voter ID law.    TeenJury will continue to follow the outcome of such cases and how the voting rights of young Americans are affected.

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