A new report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says that, 53 years after the implementation of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), people of color are still being locked out of the democracy that America claims to value.
Released yesterday (September 12), “An Assessment of Minority Voting Rights Access in the United States” is part of the independent federal agency’s work to assess the level of access people of color have to voting and the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. That work took on special significance following the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder. As The Atlantic reported this summer:
In that 2013 decision, the Supreme Court invalidated a decades-old “coverage formula” naming jurisdictions that had to pass federal scrutiny under the Voting Rights Act, referred to as “preclearance,” in order to pass any new elections or voting laws. Those jurisdictions were selected based on their having a history of discrimination in voting. The decision also left it to Congress to come up with new criteria for coverage, which hasn’t happened and probably won’t happen soon.
As the report shows, people of color are suffering for the lack of action in Congress.