Voter suppression from strict ID laws to closing polling places to purging voter rolls is deliberately making it hard to exercise the democratic franchise
Martin Luther King Jr marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama,in 1965 in protest of attempts by white legislators across the south to prevent African Americans from voting. At the time, black people outnumbered white people in Selma but comprisedonly 2% of the voting rolls.
Over 50 years later, Kings cousin, Christine Jordan, then 92 years old, showed up at her polling station in Atlanta, Georgia, to vote in the 2018 midterm election, just as she had in elections for the previous 50 years. But she was told there was no record of her voter registration.
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Its horrible, she held civil rights meetings in her home and they had no record of her, Jessica Lawrence, her granddaughter, saidat the time.
Jordans troubles were not unusual. Although America prides itself on holding free and fair elections, and the right to vote is enshrined as the foundational principle of its democracy, there is mounting evidence of systemic attempts to prevent growing numbers of Americans from being able to exercise it.
Until recently, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ensured that the federal government had oversight of changes to voting systems in those US states that had a history of voting discrimination. But that changed six years ago with a supreme court ruling that gutted the law. It meant that those very same states no longer had to get pre-clearance from the federal government for legislation affecting elections and voting processes. In other words, the states with the worst history of voting discrimination were free to revert to something like their previous behavior.