Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Confederate "Heritage" Month 2014, April 29: the Roberts Court vs. voting rights

This is a PBS Newshour report on the Roberts Court ruling last year in favor of segregationist state voter-suppression laws. Oddly, it doesn't mention the name of the decision, Shelby County (June 2013).

Was the Supreme Court ruling a setback for voting rights? 04/21/2014:

The video is a reminder of what a throwback to pre-1965 days the Shelby County decision is. It features a smug, smarmy Southern white legislator reassuring us that voter-suppression laws are just reassuring little adjustments, certainly not meant to prevent The Negro from voting.

This is an issue for which the standard, this-side-says-the-other-side says reporting is ill-suited. For instance, this is the closing exchange, with Gwen Ifill posing a question to good-ole-boy North Carolina legislator David Lewis, whose homepage as of now opens up with a banner that says, "Help Stop NC Voter Fraud" - "voter fraud" being the segregationists current favorite slogan to justify voter-suppression laws:

GWEN IFILL: But let me ask you this.

Is it fixing a problem — that you have evidence that fixed a problem that existed?

DAVID LEWIS: Well, we definitely have evidence, as I said, that folks that — some folks that registered to vote on the same day were never able to be verified.

We don’t know if they were actually eligible to vote or not. We think it does make sense to present a photo I.D., that the photo matches the name to say who you say you are. The professor referenced student I.D.s Doesn't it not make sense that if are you going attest, as the constitution of North Carolina calls for, that you are a resident of the state, that you would have taken time to have gone to the DMV and to get your driver's license or to get your non-operator's license, if this is truly your home, if this is the home in which are you going to exercise that precious right to vote, certainly being able to obtain an I.D. at no direct cost to you can’t be considered an impediment to voting.

GWEN IFILL: Well, this sounds like this is an issue that the administration is certainly not going to give up on.

And we’re going to — the Supreme Court may have just started this argument.

Kareem Crayton from the University of North Carolina and David Lewis with the North Carolina House of Representatives, thank you very much.
In fact, in-person voter fraud is a virtually non-existent problem. But Ifill instead let Lewis get away with answering her question with hypotheticals. One would think that the leading Quality TV news program could do a little research on alleged voter fraud in North Carolina to challenge a clearly evasive answer like that.

Dana Liebelson describes some of the actual results of the Shelby County decision in The Supreme Court Gutted the Voting Rights Act. What Happened Next in These 8 States Will Not Shock You. Mother Jones 04/08/2014:

Before the Shelby County v. Holder decision came down on June 25, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act required federal review of new voting rules in 15 states, most of them in the South. (In a few of these states, only specific counties or townships were covered.) Chief Justice John Roberts voted to gut the Voting Rights Act on the basis that "our country has changed," and that blanket federal protection wasn't needed to stop discrimination. But the country hasn't changed as much as he may think.

We looked at how many of these 15 states passed or implemented voting restrictions after Section 5 was invalidated, compared to the states that were not covered by the law. (We defined "voting restriction" as passing or implementing a voter ID law, cutting voting hours, purging voter rolls, or ending same-day registration. Advocates criticize these kinds of laws for discriminating against low-income voters, young people, and minorities, who tend to vote for Democrats.) We found that 8 of the 15 states, or 53 percent, passed or implemented voting restrictions since June 25, compared to 3 of 35 states that were not covered under Section 5—or less than 9 percent. Additionally, a number of states not covered by the Voting Rights Act actually expanded voting rights in the same time period.
She also manages to tell us more about what North Carolina has done since Shelby County that Gwen Ifill and her guests did: "About one month after the Shelby decision, Republicans in North Carolina pushed through a package of extreme voting restrictions, including ending same-day registration, shortening early voting by a week, requiring photo ID, and ending a program that encourages high schoolers to sign up to vote when they turn 18."

Tags: , ,

No comments: