Thanks to landmark Supreme Court cases Citizens United (2010) and Shelby v. Holder (2013) we have a democracy that isn’t really democratic. Citizens United made it okay for rich white dudes to spend as much as they want on political campaigns and literally put their money where the voices of people of color, women, and other marginalized groups should be. Shelby v. Holder essentially made the Voting Rights Act null and void which opened up the floodgates for Republicans across the country to ease back into their old Jim Crow ways and steal votes from Black and brown citizens.
But the Republicans weren’t just going to let it end there. They had to make sure that their power was entrenched so that people of color, women, low income people and everybody at the intersections wouldn’t be able to have a say in our democracy for a long time. Here’s a list (that will probably keep growing) of the egregious attacks on the voting rights of Americans across the country.
- The Florida GOP enacted a modern day poll tax on returning citizens after 65% of the Florida electorate voted to have their rights restored.
- Tennessee is punishing the organizing efforts of Black citizens by passing a bill that criminalizes mistakes on voter registration forms.
- Texas is upping the ante on Tennessee by not only punishing organizers who help register people to vote, but also volunteers who bus or carpool others to the polls.
- 16 million registrations purged from the voter rolls nationally.
- Arizona passed laws threatening early voters with jail time if they did not have a viable emergency.
- Mississippi is holding onto a Jim Crow era election system that dilutes the power of Black voters
- Michigan is trying their hardest to keep their state racially gerrymandered
These restrictions aren’t just random. They’re part of a concerted effort by Republicans to suppress voters of color in order to hold onto power. Fortunately, there’s something that can be done about it: Congress needs to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) to restore protections in the Voting Rights Act so all voters are protected.
Until then, check back here to keep track of toxic voter suppression laws around the country.