Old times in South not forgotten: vote suppression jump-started by Supreme Court | Arkansas Blog

Old times in South not forgotten: vote suppression jump-started by Supreme Court

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When the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, Chief Justice John Roberts sanctimoniously and dishonestly assured the country that the bad old days were behind us.

Already, Doonesbury cartoon strips on the return of Jim Crow, such as one excerpted here, have done a masterful job of illustrating in just a few words the emptiness of that sentiment in real life, with vote purges and other barriers disenfranchising thousands of voters across the South in ways that target Democratic-leaning voter groups.

The New York Times today underscores what this is really all about:

State officials across the South are aggressively moving ahead with new laws requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls after the Supreme Court decision striking down a portion of the Voting Rights Act.

... Within hours, Texas officials said that they would begin enforcing a strict photo identification requirement for voters, which had been blocked by a federal court on the ground that it would disproportionately affect black and Hispanic voters. In Mississippi and Alabama, which had passed their own voter identification laws but had not received federal approval for them, state officials said that they were moving to begin enforcing the laws.

The next flash point over voting laws will most likely be in North Carolina, where several voting bills had languished there this year as the Republicans who control the Legislature awaited the Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which had covered many counties in the state. After the ruling, some Republican lawmakers said that they would move as soon as next week to pass a bill requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls. And some Republicans there are considering cutting back on the number of early voting days in the state, which were especially popular among Democrats and black voters during the 2012 presidential election.

Arkansas Republicans, too, passed vote suppression legislation over Gov. Mike Beebe's veto. That ID law soon will be challenged in court as a violation of the state constitution. They also hate extended voting hours, particularly Sunday voting that allows churches to organize rides to polls. But earlier efforts to provide that in Arkansas already have been rolled back.

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