One Year After Supreme Court Dismantles Voting Right Act, 22 States Have Adopted New Voting Restrictions

Posted July 2, 2014

MP3 Interview with Tomas Lopez, counsel with the Brennan Center for Justice, conducted by Scott Harris

voting

One year after the Supreme Court’s controversial and narrow 5 to 4 ruling, which overturned a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, nearly half the states across the country have imposed new obstacles to voting. These include restrictive voter ID laws, limited early voting hours and new requirements making voter registration more difficult. These election regulations ushered in by mostly Republican governors and legislatures since 2010, disproportionately affect the voting rights of minorities, young people, senior citizens and other voters viewed as likely to cast ballots for Democratic party candidates.

Unless successfully challenged, these new restrictions will be in place in 22 states for the important midterm congressional elections this November 4. Voting rights advocates have already initiated lawsuits to overturn restrictive election regulations in seven states. In a hopeful sign, a federal judge in Milwaukee struck down Wisconsin's voter identification law on April 29, declaring that a requirement that voters show a state-issued photo ID at the polls imposes an unfair burden on poor and minority voters.

Although the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 was introduced in January, Congress has thus far failed to pass this legislation, which would restore the pre-clearance section of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court last year. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Tomas Lopez, counsel with the Brennan Center for Justice, who discusses the status of challenges to new voter suppression laws across the nation and the likely impact on voters.

For more information on the Brennan Center for Justice, visit brennancenter.org.

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