Campaign Week in Review: Race May Have Played a Factor in Voter Restrictions

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Campaign Week in Review: Race May Have Played a Factor in Voter Restrictions

Ally Boguhn

Many of the states that have imposed voting restrictions since 2010 are the same states that had the highest turnout of Black voters in the 2008 election and highest rates of Latino population growth between 2000 and 2010.

The Brennan Center for Justice this week offered an analysis on why voter restrictions have been passed across the country, and we offer a look into the other election-related news you might have missed.

Analysis: “Race Played a Factor in Which States Passed New Voting Restrictions” Since 2010

While the presidential candidates didn’t see fit to mention the crisis in voting rights during Monday night’s first debate, a new analysis underscored how some states may be using these restrictions to suppress the votes of people of color.

Fourteen states will have new voting restrictions for the first time during a presidential election this November, and 20 states have new voting restrictions put in place since the 2010 midterm elections according to an analysis released Thursday by the Brennan Center for Justice.

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Many of the states that have imposed these new voting restrictions since 2010 are the same states that had the highest turnout of Black voters in the 2008 election and highest rates of Latino population growth between 2000 and 2010.

“Of the 11 states with the highest African-American turnout in 2008, 6 have new restrictions in place,” the report states. Though North Carolina fits this description, the state’s voter identification law was blocked in July when a federal appeals court ruled that the law’s provisions “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”

Latino communities may be disproportionately targeted by these restrictions. The analysis found that, “of the 12 states with the largest Hispanic population growth between 2000 and 2010, 7 passed laws making it harder to vote.”

Perhaps just as alarming is the Brennan Center’s findings that nine of the 15 jurisdictions previously covered under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA)—which required states with a history of voting discrimination to get pre-clearance on voting laws prior to the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision gutting this protection in Shelby County v. Holder—have new voting restrictions in place.

Of those states, four “put restrictions in place directly after the Shelby County decision: Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas.”

While more than 100 million people “will cast a ballot this November, after the biggest rollback to voting rights since the Jim Crow era,” according to the report, “progress is possible.”

It noted a piece of legislation introduced by congressional Democrats in July to automatically register eligible citizens to vote when they interact with government agencies such as the department of motor vehicles, as well as a string of recent court victories against voting restrictions.

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