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A Voting Crisis 2018


    In 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the voting rights act of 1965. After many years of people of African descent being discriminated against their right to vote was finally secured. In 1870 the congress redefied the 15thamendment to the constitution. The 15th amendment was written to given all male citizens the right to vote no matter race creed or color. However, in 1877 the Supreme Court limited federal protections this which gave way to voter intimidation of blacks by the white racist. It took nearly 100 years to right the ship and to give the right to vote to former sons and daughters of slaves. Fast forward, in June of 2013, the Supreme Court was at it again rendering a new decision concerning the vote that would bring on a new era of voter intimidation and suppression.


      In Supreme Court case Shelby vs Holder in June 2018 attorney general Eric Holder argued that if the courts rolled back the 1965 voting act that those states involved in the 1965decision would revert back to past practices of voter suppression. As it stands today Mr. Holder was right about the consequences of turn back the law. Not only was he right about what would happen but it seems that what was once a problem for mainly southern states has now become a major problem all over the United States. There have been reports of voter intimidation all over America but nowadays we like to use code names intimidation like voter ID checks. States have also come up with new intimidation tactics aimed at keeping mainly black voters from voting in the upcoming 2018 midterms.


    In the Shelby decision Chief Justice John Roberts basically said that America was cured of racism and that it was due in large part to the 1965 voting rights act. He seemed to be suggesting that race was no longer a problem and that there were no signs of widespread voter suppression. I wonder was chief justice Roberts was blind to what happened to many black voting communities during the 2012 election cycle that had accrued just one year earlier? He must have missed the illegal purging of voters in states like Ohio and Michigan or the mass closing of polling centers and the shortage of voting booths in African American communities. Either Chief Justice Roberts and the other justices missed key happenings at the poles or worse they outright ignored what had taken place. The court fails to take account of the history of America and as a result, we have some of the most egregious acts of voter suppression taking place since the 1960’s.


     With all that has happened in the past few years the rise of Trump and the return racially motivated suppression of voting rights, America finds herself in the midst of another great battle for human rights. At stake in all of this is the soul America and the question what will become of America. Will America return to the glory years of racial injustice against people of color or will it push forward towards equal justice for all and the protection of every citizen’s right to vote? I don’t rightfully know will happen in the coming weeks with the midterms just over the horizon but one thing’s for sure there is lots of work for those of us who still believe in justice and equality. We must keep our eyes on what’s going on in places like Georgia and Florida where voter are being thrown off the rolls by the tens of thousands.


    In the state of Georgia’s gubernatorial race between Stacey Abrams a demarcate and Brian Kemp a republican we have seen some signs of widespread voter suppression taking place. Kemp who is Georgia’s secretary of state is overseeing the purging of thousands of Georgia’s voters mostly blacks and other minorities who may vote for Kemp’s opponent Abrams. If this isn’t clear evidence of the need for the 1965 voting rights act to have been kept in place, I don’t know what is or what it would take for the courts to see they made a major mistake. Even though Kemp has tried to disguise his efforts to suppress the black vote one would only have look at the number of African American voters being tossed from the rolls to see that this is totally based on the race of the voter and has little to nothing to do with Kemp’s excuse for toss these voters.


Kemp has claimed that he was tossing these voters for reasons having nothing to do with race but as we can see this has everything to do with race. One would think that Kemp would be smart enough to recuse himself and not make the rigging of the election look so obvious. Kemp sighted the improper filling out paperwork as one of the main reasons for purging this group of voters from the rolls in the upcoming election. Kemp seems to only follow this practice in districts with an overwhelming number of black voters. The only way I could think that Kemp could away with something like is because of the 2013 Shelby ruling handed down by the Roberts court.

The justices who voted to roll back the laws are responsible for everything that happens from here on out with regard to the state of the vote in America. We should never forget that they helped to foster this new era of racial discrimination and voter suppression. For that, they should all be impeached because they have created an American voting crisis that could have been avoided. If they had only taken time to see what was right in front of them, this would be a better nation for our children to inherit.  I guess America not yet come to the place where liberty and justice for all is more than a slogan. I guess we are still a nation divided along lines of race and the words in the constitution are nothing more than words.

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Sengbe Ben Yosef

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