HOUSTON, TX – It’s a game changer. The Supreme Court has decided that key provisions of the 1965 voting rights act, which sought to end racial discrimination in voting, are no longer relevant and has tossed them aside.
It’s a move that’s caused a stir throughout the country. Here in Houston, at an event held by the NAACP, it sounded like this: “If you’re poor, or minority voters, disabled, students, it leaves us and many others vulnerable to the suppression schemes, disenfranchisement tactics of not only our state, but other states that have proven track records of disenfranchising minority voters.” That’s what NAACP Houston chapter Board President Reginald Lillie had to say of the measure.
In a 5 to 4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that section 4 of the voting rights act, which requires nine states in the south with histories of racial discrimination to seek federal approval before making changes to voting laws, was no longer necessary given today’s racial climate.
Chief justice John Roberts wrote that the law was, “based on 40-year-old facts having no logical relationship to present day.”
More than a handful of folks around here disagree.
“Our democracy was literally gutted on Thursday,’ said Houston’s NAACP president Yolanda Smith. ‘It’s sad to say.”
Within hours of the Supreme Court’s decision, Texas attorney general Greg Abbott announced that the state’s controversial voter id law, which previously had been blocked by voting rights act, will take effect immediately.
No word whether congress plans to take action of their own on the issue.