Republican Attack on Voting Rights


July 30, 2021, MSNBC

According to reports, Georgia Republicans are using a provision of the newly passed restrictive voting law to wrestle away control of elections in Fulton county which includes most of heavily Democratic Atlanta. We discuss with Victoria DeFrancesco Soto and Bill Kristol.

a bit of retrospective

A 5-4 Supreme Court threatened voting rights. A 6-3 court could finish them off. It’s a strong enough majority to nullify voters’ voices, particularly voters of color.

By Ari Berman, September 24, 2020, Washington Post

In 2013, the Supreme Court’s five-member conservative majority gutted the Voting Rights Act by ruling that states with a long history of racial discrimination in their conduct of elections no longer needed to clear changes to voting laws with the federal government, holding that “things have changed dramatically” since the act was passed in 1965.

To this, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at 87, memorably dissented: “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” she wrote. Her words were prescient. Doing away with pre-clearance allowed states such as Georgia and Texas to implement new restrictions on voting, such as stricter voter ID laws, closing polling places in precincts serving minority communities and adding new barriers to voter registration that disproportionately impacted voters of color.

That’s not the only way the court, led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. — who was appointed by President George W. Bush — has made it more difficult to vote in the past few years: In 2018, it approved efforts by Republican-controlled states such as Ohio to remove voters from the rolls simply for skipping a few elections (making voting, in effect, a use-it-or-lose-it right), and last year it ruled that federal courts did not have the power to review gerrymandered maps in states such as Wisconsin, where Republicans got less than half of the overall votes cast for state assembly races in 2018 but wound up controlling almost two-thirds of the seats. …