ON AUGUST 6th 1965 President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act (VRA), a sweeping law that would do much to protect the right to vote for all Americans, including those who have historically suffered from discrimination at the polls. When it was first passed, Southern states were systematically suppressing the black vote, in some cases violently. Over the coming decades, the law was tweaked to ban all voting practices that effectively deterred certain groups of voters. But many presumed that time and racial progress would ultimately make the law unnecessary.
Alas, 50 years on, the law continues to be cited in a number of cases involving mischief at the polls. On August 5th the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down part of a controversial voter-identification law Texas passed in 2011, one of the strictest in the country, which the state argues protects the “integrity of...Continue reading