By York Van Nixon III
Washington, DC – South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley got a big lump of coal for her Christmas stocking on Friday from the Justice Department. Requiring photo identification at voting polls would have been naughty and certainly not very nice for disenfranchised voters, if she had her way.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez issued the following statement Friday:
“According to the state’s statistics, there are 81,938 minority citizens who are already registered to vote and who lack DMV-issued identification.”
South Carolina will not be allowed to turn back the clock before the 1965 Voting Right Act:.
Voting Rights Act
An act to enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act shall be known as the “Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
SEC. 2. No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.
After the enactment in 1870 of the 15th Amendment, guaranteeing former slaves the right to vote, some states in the North and South passed Jim Crow Laws, which permitted de jure racial segregation in all public facilities. In order to make sure discriminatory laws were not overturned by growing African American communities, many state and local governments required Blacks to take I.Q tests. Additionally, states like Virginia levied poll taxes on their poorest voters to discourage minority participation in the electoral process.
Since the 1965 Voting Rights Act, nine states have been constantly monitored by the Justice Department for discrimination at the polls:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia must have changes to their voting laws approved by U.S. Attorney General.
The Republican Party is often labeled exclusionary and a bastion for racists. But that was not always the case. Before the Voting Rights Act in 1965, Democrats in the South were dominated by Dixiecrats, who wanted greater states rights and dreamed of the old South when “Black people knew their place.”
Incidence of voter fraud in presidential elections is rare in the United States. If the GOP expects to win big in 2012, it will need to devise less obvious ways of determining electoral outcomes. The “good ole days” are chapters in America’s sordid history and should remain in bomb-proof sepulchers. Unfortunately, there are those who still believe in ghosts, the kind that go Kaboom in the night wearing white sheets.