Chris Hayes leaves the rest of the news media in the dust on just about any issue, and this story is no exception. While he does mention the Bush U.S. attorney purge, he doesn’t detail what happened – namely, that they only purged the DoJ ranks of U.S. attorneys who didn’t understand that they were supposed to fabricate cases of voter fraud if, as was likely, they couldn’t actually find any – and that many of those who made the ideological cut are still around:
In closing arguments this Friday, attorneys for the state of Texas argued that the state should be released once and for all from the Justice Department’s supervision of its voting process… which is currently authorized by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The case is widely expected to end up before the Supreme Court, where it won’t be surprising if we find the five Republican appointees declaring the Voting Rights Act is no longer justified and thus gutted or entirely null.
The portion of the act at issue covers nine states, and counties and townships in seven others, largely in the South, that have a history of erecting barriers to black people exercising their right to vote.
In years past this took a variety of forms, ‘grandfather’ tests that stopped newly freed slaves from voting, since their grandfathers weren’t on the rolls, “literacy’ tests selectively administered and devilishly difficult or simple poll taxes that forced people to pay to vote… if they could afford it.
After one of the most powerful and courageous social movements in American history, one which took the lives of at least 40 people, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, LBJ famously signed the voting rights act in 1965 ending these practices.
“Wherever, by clear and objective standards, states and counties are using regulations, or laws, or tests to deny the right to vote, then they will be struck down. If it is clear that State officials still intend to discriminate, then Federal examiners will be sent in to register all eligible voters. When the prospect of discrimination is gone, the examiners will be immediately withdrawn. And, under this act, if any county anywhere in this Nation does not want Federal intervention it need only open its polling places to all of its people.”
It wasn’t until the passage of the Voting Rights Act, and the many amendments to it over the years that black people in the South and in some places outside the South could actually exercise their right to be full participating citizens in American democracy.
Texas, would now like to get rid of that rule so it can impose a voter ID requirement and more broadly do whatever it damn well pleases as far as restrictions on voting are concerned. And it just so happens that while Texas is pursuing an end to the Reign of Tyranny that is the Voting Rights Act, states around the union under Republican control have been waging an unparalleled assault on access to the voting booth for the poor and marginal.
In Pennsylvania, a recent study found that 750,000 people, or one tenth of the total electorate, don’t have ID’s that would enable them to vote in November. Alabama now requires voters to provide documentary proof of citizenship… which 7% of Alabama voters… or former voters… do not have.
Continue Reading »