Battle over Voting Rights Act before U.S. Supreme Court

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | 2/27/2013, 6:25 a.m.

The claims that the Act is a waste since blacks and Hispanics vote whenever and wherever they please is nonsense. Even though black and Hispanic voters did vote in big numbers in the 2012 election, in many districts they still had to stand in endless lines, have their IDs thoroughly scrutinized, had no bilingual ballots, found voting hours shortened and had to file legal challenges in state and federal courts to get injunctions to stop the more onerous of the voter suppression laws from being enforced.

This was only part of the story of the roadblocks the GOP has devised. A study by the Alliance for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based public interest group, documented legions of complaints and challenges filed by the Justice Department and voting rights groups to discriminatory changes that county registrars have made to eliminate or narrow down the number of voters in predominantly minority districts.

There was never any real threat that Congress would have dared do away with the Act, despite the GOP’s harsh warnings and wishes. But the actions of many state officials, attorney generals and now the Supreme Court that threaten the Act are a grave warning that the GOP may finally get its wish. And that’s to gut, if not outright end, the Voting Rights Act.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.