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Mar 6 / Sarah Massey

Reversing Voting Rights Protections is Laughable

This blog post should be categorized as sometimes I have to laugh or I will cry.

Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the Constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. (For background, check out my media review post here. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has a much funnier overview here:)


In a nutshell, the debate is over whether we still need a system to oversee voting laws in states that have a history of discrimination and disenfranchisement. Project Vote believes we do, and it filed a friend of the court brief with 28 other voting rights and civil rights groups that also believe Section 5 should be upheld.

If you tuned into the court proceedings, you heard Justice Antonin Scalia calling the Voting Rights Act “a racial entitlement.” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was so offended by that description she called the justice a “troll.” A troll is one of those really annoying Internet users who always write the most outrageous comments to get a rise out of everyone else. For a good laugh, check her out here with Jon Stewart:


Saturday Night Live also took on the Supreme Court case:


Laughter and levity aside, we have seen a tidal wave of restrictive voting legislation in the states covered by Section 5 and elsewhere across the country. Just last year, state legislators attempted to curb voter registration drives, suppress the vote through photo voter ID rules, and reduce early voting days. They continue that fight now. (Read our report on 2012 suppression laws here.)

The reality is: the population that does vote is not representational of the population who can vote, and there are still people who want to keep it that way. I hope the Supreme Court can see through the partisan rhetoric and rules to maintain an important law that protects our voting rights. I’d hate to weep for its demise. I join these comedians, writers, anchors, and pundits who think its laughable that voting rights protections should be reversed.

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