Amid the wave of new voter ID laws that have swept red states over the past two years, some Republicans want to take things a step further. In Texas, they want to repeal the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
As part of the 2012 Texas Republican Party platform, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been targeted for repeal.
In order to understand the gravity, and perhaps motivation of this GOP effort, a look at the reason the law was enacted in the first place can shed some light on the issue.
“Congress determined that the existing federal anti-discrimination laws were not sufficient to overcome the resistance by state officials to enforcement of the 15th Amendment. The legislative hearings showed that the Department of Justice's efforts to eliminate discriminatory election practices by litigation on a case-by-case basis had been unsuccessful in opening up the registration process; as soon as one discriminatory practice or procedure was proven to be unconstitutional and enjoined, a new one would be substituted in its place and litigation would have to commence anew,” according to the Department of Justice.
The 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870 because there was an abundance of state laws that discriminated against "black voting" by recently freed slaves. The former Confederate states had up to a million black voters who, although they now had the right to vote, still faced discriminatory voting practices, including poll taxes and literacy tests.
White supremacy groups, like the Ku Klux Klan and the Knights of the White Camellia, continued their efforts to stop freed slaves from voting through intimidation, sometimes violently, even after the 15th Amendment became law.
It took 95 years to add the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to America’s anti-discrimination voting laws. Now Texas Republicans want to end those rights.
Since taking control of Congress in 2010, the radical conservative message of Tea Party Republicans has emboldened more than 30 Republican governors to enact or attempt to enact voter ID laws that are intended to bring discrimination back to American voting booths.
The object is not just to stop blacks from voting, but other minority groups as well. The reason is to control the outcome of the 2012 elections in favor of Republican candidates, who would then use their power to further limit the voting rights of non-white, Democratic-leaning voters.
Texas’ attempt to manipulate elections through new Voter ID laws was blocked by the Department of Justice in March. The DOJ ruling came after claims of voter fraud were proven to be virtually non-existent, and the targets of the law were disproportionately minority groups. In short, the Texas voter ID law was determined to be illegal discrimination.
If the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is successfully repealed by Republicans, America will be taking a step back in history to a time in when white supremacy groups ruled and recently freed black slaves were denied the right to vote.
What these Republicans are trying to do to this country is more than troubling. It's outright terrifying.
Despite claims that they are supporters of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, Republicans are behaving as though they despise the founding document of the United States, as demonstrated by their efforts to destroy it piece by piece until there is nothing left.
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