Voting Rights: The Real (and Continuing) Battle Against Racism

(Huffington Post) While the racist harangues of Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling have been consuming air time and newsprint, institutional racism in the form of discrimination against African-American voters remains on the rise in states dominated by Republican governors and legislators.

In the '60s the entire power structure in the Deep South — from the state house down to each county sheriff — collaborated to prevent African Americans from voting,beating and sometimes killing those who tried to exercise our most basic right of citizenship.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed poll taxes, literacy tests and other tactics that had been used to prevent African Americans from registering to vote. It also gave the federal government the power to enforce the VRA.

But in June of last year, by a vote of five to four, the Supreme Court struck downSection 4 of the VRA, which had required states with a history of racial discrimination to get preclearance from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) before changing their voting laws. Without the preclearance provision, the DOJ can no longer prevent a biased law from going into operation; it must react case by case.

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