Thoughts on the change?
Thoughts on the change?
SCOTUS basically ruled, in layman's terms, Congress needs to take a look at section 4 and modernize the process.
The question that was before the court was ...
So they ruled yes, Congress has the authority, but it needs to be updated to reflect attitudes of today, not the 70's.Quote:
Does the renewal of Section 5 of the Voter Rights Act under the constraints of Section 4(b) exceed Congress’ authority under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, and therefore violate the Tenth Amendment and Article Four of the Constitution?
What's surprising is that Section 2 was untouched, leaving in place (and rightfully so) the ban on race discrimination yet some on the ultra left are saying this ruling is a return to Jim Crow.
It's a very readable opinion so either these folks did not read the opinion or they're purposefully interjecting race into the ruling where it doesn't exist.
I haven't read the materials yet, I've only read a few different articles (by reporters who I assume read them, but I probably shouldn't assume that).
I see both sides. It's a little terrifying or at least disconcerting to hear about the Supreme Court altering the VRA. It's kind of something we think about as a cornerstone of modern America, or at least the America we all want (one where isms don't cause disenfranchisement).
I understand people who don't want certain states to be singled out. On the surface, that seems unfair.
But I also understand people who realize that, in reality, certain states more than others do have a more checkered past, and for that reason may deserve the added suspicion.
But the law was enacted when millions of African Americans were disenfranchised by mostly white-run legislatures...which were mostly Democrat controlled...but that is topic for a another thread ;) .
Since that time, those legislators have become much more representative of their states' racial demographics...and legislative gerrymandering has guaranteed that certain seats will always go to certain segments of the population. That too can be a problem, but it is a different problem.
So I think times and the problems that were occurring have changed...not saying there are still not issues with voting...but they are different issues, and more nation-wide than just centered in the South...so the law probably needed to change, for all concerned.
The Section of the Act that was overturned was always known to be unconstitutional except in the case of very specific and serious circumstances. Those specific and serious circumstances have absolutely and undeniably changed/disappeared (by all metrics used or imagined).
Congress was also warned by SCOTUS that this was the case (the Section was on crumbling ground) and was given ample time to amend the criteria into something that might allow the Section to remain constitutional. Congress ignored the warning and thus the Section was overturned.
If not for partisan politics this decision would have been unanimous and uncontroversial.
My biggest concern with the SCOTUS ruling is that states are now doing away with early voting. Has early voting ever been linked to voter fraud? I thought early voting was something that everyone agreed was a good thing. Because election days are not holidays most people will opt to not vote in order to save a day's worth of pay. North Carolina is doing it among other things. These changes, IMO, do nothing but make it harder for the working class (poor people) to vote.
To my knowledge, the only state considering dropping early voting is NC and it's because of cost. Also, I may be wrong, but I don't think NC was one of the states that needed pre-clearance from DoJ anyway so the SCOTUS ruling didn't effect them.
We have early voting hear and have no issues with it or plans to do away with it, yet we were a pre-clearance state.
8 hour long lines are a result of incompetent election planners/officials/workers. That and an inordinate amount of same-day registration (which should be curtailed as much as possible, imo).
Florida gets all the attention, IMO, because of 2000.
And I don't see how federal intervention on a states rights issue will fix it. I don't live in FL but it's up to the fine folks in FL to fix their issues, not the federal government and certainly not SCOTUS.
And early voting has some drawbacks. For one, it costs money. Two, it allows people to vote with less than full information (many states allow voting before the debates, for example). And close-to-Election Day early voting opens up the potential for people to vote twice as voter rolls (for Election Day) cannot be updated in the short time between the end of early voting and Election Day. Also, early voting results can discourage voters if they conclude their vote "doesn't matter" due to lopsided margin or perceived settled outcome. On this point, I don't think there has been any evidence that extended early voting increases turnout (in fact, I have seen a couple of studies showing it slightly decreases turnout).
As for people that cannot get off of work or are too ill or disabled to get to the polls on Election Day, I believe every state in the Union allows mailed absentee ballots to be used in these instances (a form of early voting).
At some point, the voter should be required to put in some minimal effort in terms of casting their vote. Making sure you are registered, and planning for an event that occurs about every 2 years (every 4 years for a lot of voters), is not a lot to ask, imo. At least it didn't used to be. Same goes for the election planners/officials.
I'll look for more. And I am not even sure I agree, but I also cannot find any studies that say it increases. It might be a wash, or certainly isn't a situation where the effect is clear.
Another link discussing that same study, I still haven't found a working to link to the actual full study though.