Reprinted from The AFL-CIO blog Now by Judith Browne Dianis and Jamal Watkins on February 17, 2017.
“It is shocking that in the 21st century, we are still fighting to ensure that all eligible citizens have the right to vote—nevertheless, the battle to protect one of our most sacred rights continues,” write Judith Browne Dianis and Jamal Watkins for the AFL-CIO blog Now.
“In 2016, we witnessed judges in states across the nation rule in favor of voting rights laws, striking down efforts to make it harder to vote. In Texas and North Carolina, significant court decisions found new laws restricting voting as racially discriminatory. In Virginia, the courts ordered voter registration to be reopened and extended due to a failure of the state’s registration website. In Ohio, a judge ruled that the state must allow most of the voters illegally purged from the rolls to vote in 2016’s presidential election using provisional ballots; and in North Dakota, a court barred the state from implementing a strict voter identification law. Most of these laws would have significantly limited access to the ballot for voters of color.
“Many would argue that the courts got it right—that the system of checks and balances works like it is supposed to. However, what is apparent, and even more troubling, is the same cycle of voter suppression legislation is happening all over again in 2017 in states like Iowa, Texas, Virginia, Florida, New Hampshire and New Jersey. This cycle is a deliberate effort to ensure that those with power and money retain both. It is propelled by fake claims of voter fraud. …