With the Voter Protection Act gutted, civil rights groups are battling voter suppression
In many ways, election observers are a first line of defense against lingering Jim Crow-era voter suppression tactics that date back to the end of slavery. Black voters are still especially vulnerable to strict ID requirements at the polls, reductions in early voting periods and onerous voter registration deadlines, experts say. Election observers have said these tactics increase fears among minority and elderly voters that someone is trying to take away their right to vote.
Wilson, who is black and teaches about the intersection of race and the law, remembered one 20-year-old black voter remarking to her, as he walked into a campus polling station to vote on primary day: “I better get in here and vote, before they put us back in slavery.”
That might sound like hyperbole. But that sentiment has been echoed among voting rights advocates, ever since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013. The VRA, enacted in 1965 to prohibit racial discrimination in electoral laws, no longer includes federal oversight needed to stop discrimination before it happens.