The Los Angeles Times put out an editorial today called "The Voting Rights Disaster." "Disaster" is an understatement. Weakening the Voting Rights Act was a punch in the gut to democracy, to civil rights, especially to minority voters, the elderly, younger voters, and anyone who can't afford transportation to providers and the costs of accessing a Voter I.D. card.
As soon as the Supreme Court ruled, Republican-run states sprinted toward passing strict Voter I.D. laws that would make it very difficult, if not impossible, for thousands-- maybe millions-- of Americans to cast ballots. No wonder Atty. Gen. Holder is challenging states on voting rights.
And those voters tend to support Democrats. No coincidence there.
The L.A. Times:
It is worth exploring whether the notion of "covered" states should give way to a nationwide system requiring pre-clearance whenever a court is convinced a state has adopted laws or procedures that have the effect of discriminating against minorities.
Finally, Congress might want to specifically address the issue of photo ID. There is ample evidence that such identification requirements disproportionately inconvenience not only racial minorities but poor, elderly and younger voters as well. On the other hand, photo ID requirements are popular ... It would be consistent with Congress' responsibility under the 14th and 15th Amendments to enact legislation requiring states that insist on photo IDs to make them free and easy to obtain.
... [P]re-clearance provisions also have prevented states from engaging in subtler forms of discrimination such as the drawing of district lines that prevent minority voters from electing representatives of their choice. The result has been the increase in minority political participation that (ironically) the Supreme Court cited in striking down the law's coverage formula. Congress must not allow that progress to be reversed.
"Make them free and easy to obtain" has been my mantra for years. We Dems have nothing against requiring proper identification. What we find so unjust is making mandatory identification tantamount to a poll tax.