Asiah Jennings- The Voting Rights Act

Asiah Jennings- The Voting Rights Act

America is now facing the possibility of reverting back to our dark past. Since the civil rights movement, minorities had been victims of voter suppression tactics. Although the Fifteenth Amendment states that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”, some states, particularly the South, followed a de facto regime rather than de jure. Back then, the Fifteenth Amendment enabled black people to vote, but Southern states disenfranchised blacks by any means necessary, until the Voting Rights Act in 1965 came into play. The Supreme Court decision yesterday may change America for the worst again. 

On Tuesday, June 25 of 2013, Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act originally enforced in 1965. This change applies to the nine states in the South allowing them to change voting procedures without federal approval in advance. Even though America has made progress since the civil rights movement, decades of voting rights could be wiped out by the single Supreme Court decision concerning a critical part of the Voting Rights Act. Dismantling this law will create serious political and social consequences.

Racial minorities will be inspired to stay engaged in political activities in order for their voices to be heard because of this decision that could ruin our nation’s progress. This country will not be a democracy if these states have the potential and opportunity to revert back to an America full of discrimination. If anything, the Voting Rights Act should be strengthened so that all states are equal, not just cherry picking which states are covered by this law. Chief Justice Roberts stated that “Congress — if it is to divide the states — must identify those jurisdictions to be singled out on a basis that makes sense in light of current conditions…It cannot simply rely on the past”. The problem with this statement, in my opinion, is that Roberts is enhancing the cherry picking process, regardless of how many times Congress has extended Section five for specific states, all states should be protected under the law. Dismantling a certain section effects it all. We are called the united states for a reason. 

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