Sen. Chuck Grassley: No Need To Fix Voting Rights Act, Blacks Already Vote Enough!
It was wonderful in 2013 when the Supreme Court finally decided that racism was over, and as a gesture of their goodwill, struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the part that said states like Mississippi and Alabama have to ask permission before changing voting rules to hurt minorities, not that they would ever do anything like that. It's not like those states (or any of the other states) have any sort of history of institutionalized racism or anything! Of course, the intention of that SCOTUS ruling was to have Congress go in and "update" that section, to bring it more in line with 2015 racism, as opposed to 1965 racism. Which brings us to Chuck Grassley, Republican senator of Iowa!
Grassley, in his capacity as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told some reporters that Congress doesn't need to fix that stinkin' Voting Rights Act, because black people are already doing all kinds of voting, he's seen them, he swears:
"It depends on what you want to fix," he said. "If you want to fix more minorities voting, more minorities are already voting."
The Iowa senator said the high court "threw out" Section 4, so the only way he'd consider revisiting the issue is if there was "some other reason" to tinker with the law.
"It seems to me it's got to be different than the original intent of the Voting Rights Act because, in the last 50 years, it's made great progress," he said.
You know what happens when you get under the hood and start to tinkerin'. Before you know it, you've taken the whole car apart and then what do you have? Certainly not a car that black people can use to drive to their local polling place! Of course, there IS a bill floating around the House, which would reaffirm the 1965 Voting Rights Act and essentially fix what the Supreme Court done fucked up, but apparently no Republican senators have ever heard of it.
As the Huffington Post points out, despite all predictions to the contrary, several states (which are NOT EVER racist, stop thinking that) have actually passed laws that, wouldn't you know it, make it more difficult for minorities to vote! For instance, Texas's horribly strict voter ID law, which has prevented thousands of people -- disproportionately minorities, surprise -- from voting:
Following a lengthy trial, the law was struck down for a second time in October 2014 by Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of the Southern District of Texas, who found that 608,470 registered voters in Texas lacked the required voter ID, with blacks and Hispanics two to three times more likely than whites not to have one. She found that the Texas legislature passed the measure “because of and not merely in spite of the voter ID law’s detrimental effects on the African-American and Hispanic electorate.” Ramos’s ruling had significance far beyond Texas—her finding that the law was purposefully discriminatory meant that the state could once again have to clear its voting changes with the federal government.
That law is, right this moment, being put before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and might finally, blessedly, be struck down.
We have previously Wonksplained at you why the Voting Rights Act was needed in the first place, but if you need a history lesson, you can click that clicky and learn all the things about how there used to be literacy tests and poll taxes, and how certain states were particularly bad about doing everything in their power to keep black folks away from the polls. Of course, SOME ARGUE that 21st century voter ID laws are basically the modern version of literacy tests and poll taxes, but they just need to talk to Sen. Grassley, who is here to assure us that everything is fine, he heard about a black lady voting this one time, so let's not tinker with what ain't need fixin'.