Voting rights are under attack

When you have to keep revisiting a subject, something is wrong. Such is the case with minority voting rights. As demonstrated by the 2020 election, when minority voters come out in overwhelming numbers, Democrats win. Republicans know this, and they consistently try to find ways to win by any means necessary. Republicans could start by trying to represent the people instead of favoring big business and the wealthy. Businesses cannot vote, and the wealthy do not comprise a large enough number for Republicans to prevail. As we saw in the last election, Republicans leaned on alleged voter fraud and cries of socialism to activate their base, yet it still was not enough.

When individual states try to suppress the vote of some of their citizens, the Supreme Court is asked to step in. Washington Post reported that the Court will hear evidence regarding the Voting Rights Act, which was enacted in 1965 to ensure that discrimination based on race did not occur in voting. The test cases in this instance come from Arizona and involve ballots being thrown out when people accidentally voted at the wrong precinct, and the other seeks to eliminate collection of ballots for others, which some call “ballot harvesting.” Most importantly, the Supreme Court must consider protections for minority voting considering the 2020 Census, which will allow the redrawing of districts.

We have seen a flurry of Republican legislatures eliminating voting laws, including absentee voting “without cause,” extending operation times for drop boxes, and expanding early voting. These changes predominantly impact people of color, which is what Republicans hope. They continue to lean on the “big lie” that 2020 was wrought with fraud when every agency has shown otherwise. In fact, in the case of Georgia, the Secretary of State found no fraud. Despite those findings, Georgia Republicans moved forward with limiting voting, though Georgia is not alone. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, legislatures in 33 states have written more than 165 bills that restrict voting this year, and we are just entering the third month of the year. The Center estimates that these new bills total four times the number created last year. That estimate alone is enough to give one pause, but now that we have an extremely conservative Supreme Court, will they help to suppress the vote?

Hopefully, the justices will rule according to law and uphold the Voting Rights Act; however, SCOTUS has been slowly chipping away at those rights. According to Washington Post, in 2013 the Court made it more difficult to challenge states that have proven records of discrimination by eliminating approval by federal judges before changing laws. Southern states have notoriously discriminated against minorities for years, and this ruling was a huge blow to voting rights advocates. In the end, there is not a whole lot we can do if SCOTUS continues to dismantle the Voting Rights Act. It just means we must work harder and smarter, as we did in 2020. We must not allow our voices to be silenced by a handful of Republicans who do not want to serve us anyway.

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