Opinion | Georgia’s Voter Law Is Called ‘Jim Crow 2.0’ for a Reason – The New York Times

Mr. Ward is a historian who has written extensively about the civil rights movement, the South and politics.


Credit…Illustration by The New York Times; photographs by Getty Images

“Seventy-five years ago this July, a World War II veteran named Maceo Snipes reportedly became the first Black man to cast a ballot in his rural Georgia county. The next day, a white man shot him in his front yard, and Mr. Snipes would soon afterward die from those wounds.

Fortunately, three generations removed from the political reign of terror that claimed Mr. Snipes’s life, voter suppression seems much less likely to arrive by bullet. But we may not be as distant in our political moment from theirs as we might think: The long struggle to block access to the ballot has always relied on legal maneuvering and political schemes to achieve what bullets and bombs alone could not.

What legislators in Georgia and across the country have reminded us is that backlash to expanded voting rights has often arrived by a method that our eras share in common: by laws, like Georgia’s Senate Bill 202, passed by elected politicians.

Opponents of the new Georgia law denounce the legislation as “Jim Crow 2.0” precisely because they recognize the continuities between past and present. The bill’s most ardent supporters, who lined up in front of a painting of a building on the site of an antebellum plantation to watch Gov. Brian Kemp sign it into law, seem less interested in distancing themselves from that past and more eager for Americans to forget it.” . . .

A State Bucks the Trend on Voting Rights – The New York Times

“In a major executive order, Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia on Friday restored voting rights to more than 200,000 people who have completed their sentences for felony convictions. Virginia was one of four states, along with Iowa, Kentucky and Florida, that placed a lifetime bar on voting for anyone convicted of a felony.

All other states except Maine and Vermont impose lesser restrictions on voting by people with felony convictions.To people who have served their time and finished parole, Mr. McAuliffe said in a statement: “I want you back in society. I want you feeling good about yourself. I want you voting, getting a job, paying taxes.” It is the largest restoration of voting rights by a governor, ever.

Felon disenfranchisement laws, which currently block nearly six million Americans from voting, were enacted during the Reconstruction era in a racist effort to make it harder for newly freed African-Americans to vote — a reality Mr. McAuliffe acknowledged on Friday. “There’s no question that we’ve had a horrible history in voting rights as relates to African-Americans — we should remedy it,” he said. In Virginia, one in five blacks have until now been unable to vote because of a felony conviction.”

Source: A State Bucks the Trend on Voting Rights – The New York Times

Republicans Hijack an Election Agency – The New York Times

“For 10 years, the Election Assistance Commission, the bipartisan federal agency created after the 2000 election debacle to help make voting easier and more standardized, has made it clear that prospective voters do not need to prove that they are American citizens before they may register.Anyone registering to vote with the federal voter-registration form, which can be used for both federal and state elections, must already sign a statement swearing that he or she is a citizen. Congress rejected a proposal to require documented proof as well, finding that the threat of criminal prosecution for a false statement was enough to deter fraud. This did not satisfy some states, like Kansas and Arizona, where Republican officials have fought for years to block voting by anyone who cannot come up with a birth certificate or a passport.”

Source: Republicans Hijack an Election Agency – The New York Times

Republicans and Voter Suppression

The Supreme Court rejects a dangerous challenge to equal representation, but harmful voter-ID laws live on.

Source: Republicans and Voter Suppression

Solid editorial.
Here is one of my favorite comments:
Look Ahead is a trusted commenter WA 15 hours ago
“Bring back Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act by making it apply to all states, instead of just the 9 originally targeted for gross violations of election laws.

Any state election process that sends representatives to Washington, DC should be required to meet fair districting, polling access for working families and other standards. Voter identification cannot be designed to disqualify eligible voters with onerous and circuitous record requirements.

Partisan redistricting that has created the current dysfunctional Congress is an obvious place to start. The idea that the party in control should be able to contort the rules of voting in their favor is a recipe for disenfranchisement and destruction of democracy in the United States. The GOP may see this as a temporary advantage but should be able to see that in the long run, it could be used against them in a devastating way, perhaps as early as 2020, a Presidential Election Year.

Certain states have a long history of intentional disenfranchisement but more are pursuing voter suppression every year, like Wisconsin.

The current obstructionist and anti-constitutional behavior of McConnell and company is clear evidence that representative democracy is at risk in the US.”
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