Voting rights in danger of change
Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 22:03
Last Wednesday, Supreme Court justices heard arguments about changing certain aspects of the Voting Rights Act penned in 1965.
This particular law spelled out certain criteria for states that have had a history of discrimination.
Under Section 5 or the Voting Rights Act, states that have a history of discrimination are required to get clearance and permission from the federal government to change any aspect of the voting procedures.
As it can be assumed, most of the states that are forced to abide by this are states that are in the South.
I believe it would be a monumental understatement to say that most of the southern states have had a bit of discrimination throughout their history.
OK, thanks for that brief history lesson, but why is this relevant and what could possibly be these states’ argument? Good question.
The leaders of this argument are representatives from Shelby County, Ala., and they believe that this particular restriction on voting procedure changes based on racial intimidation and discrimination is no longer relevant to the modern southern society. I have to say that I agree with this opinion.
We are no longer bound by racial segregation and no longer are African-Americans being intimidated to vote for specific candidates or to not vote at all.
Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy claims, and I concur, that this oversight takes away the state’s ability to govern itself and that, in itself, is unconstitutional.
If you are like me then you have the ritual of watching a national news station on election night until the winner of the election is announced.
You may have even watched news station’s opinions of successful or unsuccessful state voting procedures.
There is even a chance that you swore you were going to delete your Facebook account if one more of your friends updated their status to the latest Obama conspiracy theory or how they were moving to Canada.
These news stations and our Facebook friends do have a point, however. Voting procedure in counties in northern states and in Florida in particular were less than par.
With certain voting locations merging with others and personnel at an all-time low, many counties should have changed the procedural process of voting but didn’t.
These changes, however, were not in areas that have to adhere to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
In fact, the most troublesome states were Florida, Massachusetts and Ohio, none of which require federal oversight.
I believe that there is definitely a need for federal oversight, to a certain extent, to keep the rights of the voters, but that the oversight needs to be fair and not based on irrelevant ideologies that have changed as society has changed.