Southern Red States Moving Aggressively To Exclude Voters
With the approval of the Supreme Court, southern Republican states are leading the charge to exclude voters who would be most likely to vote Democratic. Their long-sought goal to control who votes is sadly now possible because of the law.
At least five Southern states, no longer required to ask Washington’s permission before changing election procedures, are adopting strict voter identification laws or toughening existing requirements.
Texas officials are battling the U.S. Justice Department to put in place a voter ID law that a federal court has ruled was discriminatory. In North Carolina, the GOP-controlled Legislature scaled back early voting and ended a pre-registration program for high school students nearing voting age.
Nowhere is the debate more heated than in Florida, where the chaotic recount in the disputed 2000 presidential race took place…
Republican leaders across the South say the new measures are needed to prevent voter fraud, even though such crimes are rare. Democrats and civil rights groups say the changes are political attacks aimed at minorities and students – voting groups that tend to lean toward Democrats – in states with legacies of poll taxes and literacy tests.
In North Carolina, for example, a state board of elections survey found that more than 600,000 registered voters did not have a state-issued ID, a requirement to vote under the state’s new law. Many of those voters are young, black, poor or elderly.
“We’re in the middle of the biggest wave of voter suppression since the Voting Rights Act was enacted,” said Katherine Culliton-González, director of voter protection for the Advancement Project, a Washington-based civil rights group that has undertaken legal challenges in several states.