During an election year – especially one that includes Donald Trump – important news stories are often overlooked. Federal courts telling states their Voter ID laws violate the Voting Rights Act is one of those stories!
Over the last few election cycles, Voter ID laws have been the bane of many voting rights activists saying that the new laws were disenfranchising many of those who wished to vote. It now looks like the US federal judicial system agrees.
The past two week, federal judges have started to rule on cases which challenged Voter ID laws saying they had in fact affected minority and low-income groups from voting in electoral contests. Through that logic, they concluded that these laws were violating key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act making them unconstitutional. Even though supporters of the Voter ID laws have insisted that the laws were put into place to combat voter fraud, the courts aren’t buying it.
This summer these new Voter ID laws have been struck down in Texas, North Carolina, Kansas, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. Even though the specifics on how they were affecting the community differed – federal judges sited the North Dakota laws had an unfair effect to Native Americans while they ruled that the North Carolina laws were purposely discriminatory – the conclusion always looked to be the same; Voter ID laws were disenfranchising particular minority groups.
Considering federal courts don’t like to change voting laws so close to elections, it’s fair to say that voter ID laws will soon be a thing of the past considering SO MANY federal judges – five in all – have struck them down in the last two weeks. Thus for supporters of these Voter ID laws hoping to go all the way up to the Supreme Court, the chances that it won’t be struck there as well are realistically zero.
So at the end, the courts were the ones to protect voting rights for millions of individuals in the US and not state legislatures which looked to have tried to do the opposite, thus confirming what we knew all along:
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