The Court went outrageously wrong in assuming we have become a post-racial America that no longer needs to be bound by the legal protections that have preserved the electoral process for nearly a half-century. Indeed, discrimination still happens, and it’s not limited just to the southern states covered under provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Discrimination happens across America: North, East, West and South. And, unfortunately, it is not rare.
The Supreme Court’s decision utterly ignores the efforts to suppress voting in 2012. With no real evidence of voter fraud, more than 30 states considered laws to make voting more difficult for African Americans, low-income communities, the elderly and people with disabilities. Fifteen states implemented such measures. The efforts did not rely on poll taxes, dogs or fire hoses, but the intent was the same. Given this trend, the last thing the Court should be doing is sending a message of leniency. Instead, they should make it clear that efforts to suppress the vote will not be tolerated.
Angela Glover Blackwell is founder and CEO of PolicyLink, the national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity. She is co-author of Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future, and contributed to Ending Poverty in America: How to Restore the American Dream and The Covenant with Black America. Blackwell serves on numerous boards, including The President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.