New Voting Laws

There is no doubt that partisan administration of elections suppresses the vote. Methods of voter suppression include one sided photo ID laws, purging voter rolls of legitimate voters, and felon disenfranchisement after completion of a sentence. Texas provides an example of one sided photo ID requirements in that concealed handgun licenses are permitted while student IDs are not. Alabama state government has admitted that between 10 and 20 percent of voters don’t have the identification needed to vote because of its photo ID requirements. In addition, election officials in many states make sure there are long lines at certain polling places to suppress the vote. Disinformation about voting procedures has been a tactic used by both public officials and political groups.

Since the beginning of 2011, 25 laws and 2 executive actions passed in 19 states have made it harder to vote. Several states reduced their early voting periods. In 2008, more than a third of all US voters took advantage of the convenience of early voting. Voting rights advocates have fought back and nearly a dozen courts have overturned or weakened restrictive measures, and the …

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Voting Rights Act of 1965

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The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C.A. § 1973 et seq.) prohibits the states and their political subdivisions from imposing voting qualifications or prerequisites to voting, or standards, practices, or procedures that deny or curtail the right of a U.S. citizen to vote because of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. A product of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the Voting Rights Act has proven to be an effective, but controversial, piece of legislation.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 grew out of both public protest and private political negotiation. Starting in 1961, nonviolent demonstrations were held in Georgia and Alabama. The hope of organizers was to attract national media attention and pressure the U.S. government to protect the constitutional rights of blacks. Newspaper photos and TV broadcasts of Birmingham’s racist police commissioner, Eugene Connor, and his men violently attacking the protesters with water hoses, police dogs, and nightsticks awakened the consciences of whites.

Selma, Alabama was the site of the next campaign. In the first three months of 1965, local residents and visiting volunteers held a series of marches demanding an equal right …

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