Purging Democracy in the Sunshine State

Your Take: A sense of déjà vu in a Florida official's refusal to halt a purge of the voter rolls.

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There are vote-blocking measures from other states before the courts now, such as voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina, among others. And, an Alabama case challenging the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act's key minority voter protection is making its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is fighting for minority voters and our democracy in each of these battles.

The ballot box is sacred in our country but it is not so sacred that it is supposed to be held out of reach. We welcome measures that are necessary to protect and expand access to the ballot, but reject those designed to block voters in order to stop fraud that is rare.

After President Obama was elected, many asked whether our civil rights protections were still necessary. Now, as we look at the serious threats to voter access in America, and their potential impact on minority voters, many of the same people are wondering if William Faulkner's words, "The past is never dead. It's not even past," ring especially true.

Our democracy is stronger when more citizens, not fewer, are able to vote. Let's prove that some parts of the past are best left there.

Debo Adegbile, acting president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. (LDF), defended against the last constitutional challenge to the Voting Rights Act in the U.S. Supreme Court, and was counsel in the Florida voter purge case NAACP v. Harris. For many decades LDF has been involved in precedent-setting litigation relating to minority voting rights.

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