On the Voting Rights Act

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There is a movement to repeal a small part of the Voting Rights Act, Section 5. Known as "preclearance," it is institutionalized discrimination against jurisdictions found to have been previously guilty of discrimination.

On its face, it is a silly law to maintain today. It says that for such jurisdictions, any changes to voting laws that are different from the laws on November 1, 1964, must be approved by the Attorney General. While this may have made sense at the time, it hardly makes sense today to think that Alabama must get Eric Holder's permission to change its voting laws just because it discriminated against minorities 50 years ago: Alabama had an illegal voting test which resulted in low registration and turnout among black citizens.

There is no reason or sense in saying that Alabama, due entirely to circumstances from 50 years ago, should be required to get federal permission to change its laws, while most other states do not.

But the real problem here, I think, is that Holder has abused this power. He has rejected attempts by states to change laws that he simply doesn't like, that he says -- without any serious justification -- would reduce minority voting turnout, such as requiring photo IDs at the polls. My state requires photo IDs at the polls, but because we didn't discriminate against blacks in the 1960s, that's OK?

It's time to end preclearance, and stop punitively holding southern states as lesser than the rest.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on February 13, 2013 8:49 AM.

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