Voter Suppression and Mass Struggle

By David Sole, April 1, 2021

On November 3, 2020 the Republican Party suffered a stinging defeat in the elections when they lost control of the presidency and the U.S. Senate. Trump and his allies then made a desperate attempt to overturn the election in the infamous January 6 insurrectionary storming of the U.S. Capitol Building. While it did delay the confirmation of the vote by both houses of Congress as some elected officials fled for their lives and others cowered on the floor, the uprising was unsuccessful.

Now the right-wingers and white supremacists, led by the Republican Party, have intensified campaigns in states across the nation to suppress voters who caused their electoral defeat. It isn’t enough that they worked over the past decades to gerrymander voting districts to favor the election of their party candidates. Now they are brazenly proposing legislation that makes it harder for people to vote – especially African Americans, Latinx and other people of color.

On June 25, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to overturn a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The bare majority of the court ruled in Shelby County v Holder that states and localities no longer had to clear changes to their voting laws and procedures with the Federal government. Some states and localities under the 1965 law had been forced for almost 50 years to get clearance from the Justice Department if they had a history of racist discrimination in voting.

Serious attacks toward voter suppression have continued since then and now are intensifying. Voter suppression takes many forms, all designed to make it harder or impossible for some sections of the electorate to cast their ballots.

In many states Republicans are reducing the number of polling places, especially in communities of color. The hours that the polls remain open may also be reduced and early voting in person is being restricted. All of this is designed to make lines longer and waiting times excessive to discourage mainly Democratic Party voters. In Georgia a recent bill would make it illegal for anyone to pass out food or water to those standing on long lines to vote….

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