— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 18, 2016
MANCHESTER — Voter here asks Pence what he's going to do to make sure the election isn't "rigged" or "hacked." He suggests Voter ID laws.
— Ashley Parker (@AshleyRParker) August 18, 2016
… because OF COURSE HE DOES, since he’s a committed proponent of the Republican plan to restrict and obstruct the rights of all Americans who are not reliable conservative Republican voters.
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) August 18, 2016
Ari Berman has a book to sell, and it looks like a very worthwhile read. Here’s a review by David Cole, in the NY Review of Books, “How Voting Rights Are Being Rigged”:
… The Brennan Center for Justice identifies fifteen states that have new voting restrictions in place for the first time for the 2016 presidential election, and five more that have had restrictions in place since the 2012 election. These include several states considered “battlegrounds” in the upcoming presidential election, or that have competitive elections for Senate seats, including Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia, Illinois, and Arizona. In each of these states as well as many others, legislatures have imposed rules, like those in North Carolina, that limit opportunities to register and vote, and that demand forms of identification at the polls that many poor and minority citizens do not have—all in the name of fighting nonexistent “voter fraud.” Meanwhile Donald Trump, also invoking the specter of fraud, has sought to impose voting restrictions of his own, urging his followers to watch polls in November, a practice designed to deter Democrats from voting.
The 2016 presidential election looks increasingly like it will be close in the end, and many other races this fall are certain to be. These restrictive laws and practices, all invoked by Republicans, have the purpose and effect of reducing turnout disproportionately among racial minorities and the young, populations that are more likely to vote for Democrats. The Republican Party is evidently worried that the growing numbers of nonwhite citizens in the US are unlikely to vote for their candidates, a concern deepened by the campaign of Donald Trump. Instead of modifying their policies to address the interests of new voters, however, the Republicans have sought to suppress those votes. The strategy, profoundly antidemocratic in the small “d” sense, can swing elections in the short term. But in the long term, it will not only damage American democracy but will be self-defeating for the GOP…
… Ari Berman’s Give Us the Ballot is a captivating and definitive history of the Voting Rights Act, from its origins, inspired by the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, to the present day, in which Republican-controlled jurisdictions, freed of federal oversight by the Shelby County decision, are meticulously adopting restrictive rules akin to those North Carolina put in place.
Berman’s chronicle of the most important and effective civil rights law in American history makes clear that the right to vote, far from self-enforcing, has always been vulnerable to those who believe they can gain partisan advantage by changing the rules. As Berman puts it, “What should be the most settled right in American democracy—the right to vote—remains the most contested.”…
As initially enacted, the Voting Rights Act suspended literacy tests, authorized the Justice Department to challenge poll taxes, sent federal observers and registrars to monitor elections and register voters, and instituted the preclearance requirement. Subsequent amendments to the law outlawed literacy tests altogether, gave eighteen-year-olds the vote, extended protections to language minorities, such as Hispanics, Asian-Americans, and Native Americans, and prohibited voting rules that have the effect of diluting minority votes. The act has been extraordinarily successful. In the first decade after its enactment the percentage of southern African-Americans registered to vote increased from 31 percent to 73 percent, the number of black elected officials nationwide grew from under 500 to 10,500, and the number of black members of Congress increased from five to forty-four….
Republicans have responded, wherever they hold majority control, by restricting access to the ballot in ways that disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters. As Judge Motz noted in the North Carolina case, the fact that many of today’s restrictions are driven by partisan motives rather than pure racial animus does not diminish the fact that they are designed to restrict the number of minority voters because of their race. Berman’s history makes it clear that, given these continuing efforts at voter suppression, the Voting Rights Act remains as necessary today as ever….