Texas Leads the Nation in Voter Discrimination

Saturday, August 09, 2014
(photo: Tony Dejak, AP)

Texas has long been proud about being one of the biggest states in America. It’s often been said, and lampooned, that Texans do things a little bigger in their state than others do—and for minorities that includes the state being the biggest offender when it comes to voter discrimination incidents.

 

A new report (pdf) from the National Commission on Voting Rights says despite the assertions of the U.S. Supreme Court that voting discrimination isn’t a major problem anymore, hundreds of such cases have been documented in the South, particularly Texas.

 

“Texas stands out as having a remarkably high level of documented voting discrimination, including multiple state-level violations,” the commission said in a statement. “And the states of Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina were not far behind.”

 

This proved alarming for the civil rights groups that help make up the commission, especially after the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act (pdf). They called on Congress to act to restore the protections lost in Shelby County v. Holder (pdf) decision.

 

“Voters will be more vulnerable this November than they have been in decades,” Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said. “Contrary to the Supreme Court’s assertion, voter discrimination is still rampant, and states continue to implement voting laws and procedures that disproportionately affect minorities.”

 

The report says there were 332 cases between 1995 and 2014 of voting rights lawsuits or the U.S. Department of Justice preventing a state or county from changing their voting laws that were submitted for preclearance in compliance with the now-void terms of the Voting Rights Act.

Texas had 78 cases where claims were raised challenging methods of election under the Voting Rights Act.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

New Report Shows Continued Pattern of Voting Rights Discrimination—African American, Latino, Asian American and Native American Voters More Vulnerable Than Ever (National Commission on Voting Rights)

New Report Dismantles Supreme Court’s Argument Against The Voting Rights Act (by Alice Ollstein, Think Progress)

Protecting American Voters 2014: Our Work Is Not Done (National Commission on Voting Rights) (pdf)

Federal Courts Versus Republican Efforts to Limit Voting: Texas (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Federal Judges Reject Texas Redistricting as Anti-Minority (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Texas Latinos: 1/3 of Population, 1/4 Majority Districts, 1/7 of Congressional Seats (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

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