We have continuing developments in the ongoing effort on the part of Texas Republicans to deny some of its voters of its constitutional right to vote. While we heard earlier this week that a 3-judge panel of federal appeals justices unanimously tossed out Texas’ voter ID law because it violated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, this has not affected a separate effort to get a part of the VRA declared unconstitutional: Section 5.
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act singles out specific states which have been bad actors in the past in the effort to deny minorities of their right to vote. States that required voters to pay a poll tax, for instance, in order to vote. Or states that had a literacy requirement in order to grant a citizen access to a voting booth.
States that, for the most part, made up the former Confederate States of America and tried to split off from the rest of the United States so that its citizens could enjoy continued enslavement of descendants of Africans who were kidnapped from their homes in previous decades.
From the Austin American-Statesman:
“Still pending is Texas’ challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires pre-clearance. Texas claims the requirement adds an unfair burden that other states do not have to meet. Supporters of Section 5 say it is essential to maintaining the Voting Rights Act’s effectiveness in protecting civil rights advances.”
Opponents of Section 5 say that it places an undue burden on only select states, allowing other states to make changes in their voting laws without having to undergo the indignity of having a federal agency review the law.
States like Indiana, which passed a voter photo ID law, did not have to undergo preclearance, and had the law upheld by the US Supreme Court.
To which I say, heck yeah. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. We are now 157 years past the end of the Civil War, or as it is known here in Texas as the “War of Northern Aggression.” That being the case, if there are other states who are discriminating against minorities, states that once fought on the Union side of that war, they should also come under Section 5. Heck, yeah, it’s unconstitutional for only some states to have to undergo pre-clearance and not others, depending on which side they fought in some war over a century and a half ago.
ALL states should have to undergo pre-clearance, not just “civil rights states.”
Because, really, we are living in a new world where racial discrimination is no longer isolated in the South. Because even though racial discrimination is still a “thing” here in the South, in truth it is found everywhere.
So I welcome this court case, and the opportunity to mandate that Section 5 of the VRA apply to all fifty states.
Everyone needs to get in on the fun.