The state of Georgia is seeking to strike down a portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1964 that sought to protect black voters during the period of American history that saw Jim Crow and racial discrimination running rampant all across the country, moreso in the Deep South.
From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Georgia filed suit earlier this month asking that the court approve Republican-backed plans to redraw the state’s legislative and congressional districts. But in that filing, the state asks that if the court rejects its redistricting plans, that it also rule the law that requires that approval to be unconstitutional.
Georgia is one of nine states that must get any change in election law, including district maps, pre-approved by either the Justice Department or the federal court in Washington. That preclearance is required by Section V of the Voting Rights Act, the landmark 1964 law passed in the wake of Jim Crow and voting laws aimed at limiting the ability of African-Americans to vote.
Attorney General Sam Olens said the state’s argument against the Voting Rights Act is simple: “we’re no longer in 1964, there’s no longer poll taxes, there’s no longer cases where less than 50 percent of the minority population is voting.” Of Georgia’s 5.7 million registered voters about one-third are minorities.
The suit is the beginning of what could be a lengthy process for approval of its new maps, which are designed to take effect in next year’s elections. While Georgia has sued in court for preclearance, it is also simultaneously asking for Justice Department approval. If Justice signs off on its plan, the state would drop its lawsuit.
I would urge Georgia voters to take the time to read about this new lawsuit and what it means for voters in the state. This is much bigger than being told you must have a photo ID to vote. I believe everyone should have a photo ID to establish identity. You can’t open a bank account without a picture ID, so why should you vote without one? But, it seems to me that the Republicans in the state legislature want to go much further.