In the November elections, an estimated 4.5 million Latino citizens could see their access to the polls curtailed if the Voting Rights Act is not reinforced before then.
The U.S. Supreme Court found last year that a part of the 1965 law was outdated, because discrimination against minority voters was not like it used to be. Therefore, the court eliminated Section 5, which ordered nine states and parts of six other states with a long history of discrimination to obtain approval from the federal government when modifying their election laws. The court’s conservative majority thought it was no longer necessary.
Nevertheless, discrimination continues and has been increasing as states impose voting requirements with the excuse of fighting election fraud. In reality, the fraud is happening in absentee voting, for which nothing is being done.
The National Commission on Voting Rights indicated a few days ago that there are now state laws requiring more documentation to vote, shortening the time to go to the polls and redistricting in order to dilute the minority vote.
Texas is precisely one of the worst offenders, like other Southern states that took advantage and made changes now that they are not under federal supervision.
Therefore, a need came up for bills H.R. 3899 and S. 1945, which fix the damage that the Supreme Court’s decision made.
The bills initially had strong bipartisan support. This support has come under threat because conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation are lobbying against the bills. In addition, many Republican lawmakers are reluctant to take action that goes against their governors, who are the ones imposing new election rules to discourage those they think would vote for the Democrats.
We hope these bills do not fall into the legislative black hole created by the House leadership, which devours bills that do not overcome divisions in the Republican caucus. Democracy is strengthened through the participation, not the exclusion, of all voters.