Wednesday, July 19, 2017

House Members Ask to Reauthorize Modern Voting Rights Act

Jim Sensenbrenner is a Republican representing Wisconsin's Fifth District in Congress.

In 1982, he supported the Reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, He played an instrumental role in the Act’s 2006 Reauthorization. However, it was the 2006 Reauthorization that was put before the United States Supreme Court for consideration and ultimately struck down.

The Court declared that Voter Discrimination was no longer a problem, and removed Language designed to stop Discrimination before it mars an Election but let stand Provisions that allow Lawsuits after a Discriminatory Law takes effect. Unfortunately, there is no way to Remedy Injustice at the Polls after an Election, leaving Disenfranchised Voters with few options.

One of the Law’s Core Protections is its Pre-Clearance system. Before the Enactment of the Voting Rights Act, Discrimination at the Polls and the Federal Government’s response was similar to that of a leaking boat. Local and State Governments would Discriminate against Minority Voters. Congress would then Ban the Discriminatory Practices, only to have States find and implement new ways to Discriminate. Rather than frantically trying to repair individual holes in the process, the Voting Rights Act acted as a lacquer that Protected the entire Process and Secured it from further Damage.

Pre-clearance forced States with a Documented History of Discrimination to allow the Federal Government to Review certain changes to Voting Laws and Practices before they were Implemented. In this way, Elections could proceed without the Fear of Discrimination at the Polls.

In 2013, in Shelby vs. Holder, the Supreme Court held that, while Pre-Clearance is a Constitutional response to Voter Discrimination; it is Unconstitutional to Apply it to States based on a 1965 Formula, which was what the 1982 and 2006 Reauthorizations were modeled after. The result is that Pre-Clearance remains, but almost no Jurisdictions are subject to it.

In response to this Ruling, He introduced the Voting Rights Amendment Act in 2015, and Reintroduced it again last week with his Democratic Colleague Rep. John Conyers of Michigan. Among other things, the Bill modernizes the original 1965 Law, which applied Pre-Clearance to the same Nine States for 48 years, so that the Pre-Clearance Rules apply equally to every State in the Country.

I think the Pre-Clearance issue should be taken out of the hands of Congress. During each Census, all States should be put on Pre-Clearance, with three months to File their last 10 Years of Voting Records. Some States will be removed and some would stay on. Those that are put on can file to be Bailed-Out after Five Years, and those that weren't, could be Bailed-In by the Citizens of their State requesting a New Review. Congressional Redistricting should then be started after the three month period, and the Review is completed.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
Digg! StumbleUpon

No comments: