Voter Discrimination That Can't Be Prevented Now

Martin Luther King Jr. and others march in support of voting rights in 1965. (Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images)
Martin Luther King Jr. and others march in support of voting rights in 1965. (Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images)

When the Supreme Court knocked down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in June, it cleared the path for egregious acts of discrimination to occur, Lauren Williams writes at Mother Jones. She cites five examples of discrimination that were previously barred by federal law.

In honor of the VRA's anniversary [August 6, 2013], here are five recent and egregious examples of minority discrimination that were blocked by Section 5, the part of the law the Supreme Court eviscerated in June:

* In 2001, the all-white board of aldermen in the town of Kilmichael, Mississippi (pop. 830), canceled town elections after an unprecedented number of black candidates made it onto the ballot. When the Department of Justice (DOJ) forced an election and the town finally voted, it elected its first black mayor and three black aldermen.

* During a 2004 city council primary in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, a Vietnamese American candidate, Phuong Tan Huynh, ran against white incumbent Jackie Ladnier. Ladnier and his supporters challenged about 50 Asian American voters at the polls. Their reason? If they couldn't speak English well, they might not be citizens. The DOJ intervened, and Huynh became the first Asian American on the city council …

* After the 2010 Census indicated that blacks had become the majority of the voting-age population in Georgia's Augusta-Richmond, a consolidated city and county, the state Legislature passed a bill that rescheduled voting from November, which had a traditionally high black voter turnout, to July, which had a low turnout overall, but especially for blacks. The change only affected Augusta-Richmond, and, not surprisingly, was rejected under Section 5.


Read Lauren Williams' entire piece at Mother Jones.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.


Lauren is a former Deputy Editor of The Root.

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