Comments about ‘In our opinion: Voting Rights Act decision shows it's no longer 1965’

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Published: Tuesday, June 25 2013 3:55 p.m. MDT

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Tooele, UT

Re: "Voting Rights Act decision shows it's no longer 1965"

Or 1865. Or 1765. As much as liberals like to suggest it is.

Stephen Kent Ehat
Lindon, UT


I served as assistant city attorney in a number of cities in Central California's Fresno County, a covered county under the Voting Rights Act. The burdens imposed by the Act indeed are burdens; and the improvements over the years indeed are real, thank goodness.

The 7th paragraph of the DN Opinion shortchanges the actual improvements. Referring to the High Court's use in today's opinion of a chart compiled from the Senate and
House Reports, the DN states that the chart depicted "voter turnout." No it did not. It depicted voter registrations.

The chart compares voter registration numbers from
1965 to those from 2004 in the six originally covered
States. These are the numbers that were before Congress
when it reauthorized the Act in 2006. The improvement is stunning.

Stephen Kent Ehat
Lindon, UT


But even more favorably, the Court also cited Census Bureau data from the most recent election stating that the data indicate that African-American voter turnout (not registration, turnout) exceeded white voter turnout in five of the six States originally covered by §5, with a gap in the sixth State of less than one half of one percent.

The DN opinion states as an example that only 6.7 percent of Mississippi's eligible black voters were allowed to cast ballots in 1965. "Allowed" makes it seem like 100% of blacks were "eligible voters" and that 93.3 percent were kept from the polls back then. No, the chart actually states simply that in 1965 in Mississippi only 6.7 of black citizens registered to vote. The DN states also that "in 2004, 76.1 percent of eligible black voters participated, which was nearly 4 percent higher than the white turnout." Actually, in 2004 76.1 of black citizens in Mississippi registered to vote in 2004, while 72.3 percent of white citizens in Mississippi registered to vote that year.

Truly, as the DN correctly observes, the Act has been successful and no doors are closed by the Court's opinion today.

salt lake city, utah

You're right it's not 1965 now discrimination takes the form of prohibiting all the specific characteristics of minority voter participation. Black voter participation is high and equal specifically because the voting rights act was used to prohibit modern discrimination. Another change in modern discrimination is that voter repression while aimed at minorities is less about a hatred of their skin color and more about their proclivity to vote for the Democratic party with race simply being the vehicle to suppress that vote. It's still race discrimination in the end.

It would be a whole different situation if we had a congress that was concerned about voter and civil rights, (like we had as late as 2005),but when an entire party has declared it's only goal is to defeat the other party the SCOTUS has just killed effectively killed modern democracy.

Sandy, UT

Pretty sad and bizarre that so many don't want states to even verify that a person is a live citizen of the country before voting in the country.

Blaine, WA

Typical Utah viewpoint: "Back to the Future". Does this mean that Official Declaration 2 should now be repealed?

Mainly Me
Werribee, 00

I must ask, "Who is promoting racism?" Is it the majority race or the minority races? In this day and age, preferential treatment of one race over another race is racism. In the immortal words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?"

Mark B
Eureka, CA

I fear VST misses the point. No, Congress did not update the law, as SCOTUS said they should, and so some of the blame for this decision must rest with them. But on the other hand, it's the 2013 Congress we now have, and their propensity to make voting easier is less than zero. Today's GOP will NEVER agree, especially at the state level, to something that would hinder them from trying to reduce popular vote among certain population groups - not because they hate them, but because they hate Democrats, and will do anything they can to regain power even though their party is badly split. Their eagerness to resume de facto discrimination became apparent today, with announcements from several states, all, of course, in the name of stopping "voter fraud".

Mark B
Eureka, CA

Well, VST, you could test your own theory by asking Texas or Mississippi to do specific things to make the whole voting process easier, which it should be once a person is lawfully registered. But then again, you may not want to. Utah basically only has one Party, so it's not an issue there.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Are all citizens who are of voting age allowed to vote? Are all non-citizens or those who are not old enough to vote banned from voting? What more needs to be done?

If no election judge personally knows a voter, that voter should show a picture I.D. I have to show my I.D., and I've known the election judges for thirty-years. Why would anyone think that they will automatically be allowed to vote in any precinct just because they claim to be elligible?

All anyone has to do is to look at the results of the last election and see for himself which precincts had well over 100% of eligible voters voting and how many pricincts didn't have a single vote cast for the Republican candidate. Reasonable people would know that those precincts were "up to something". Only in the old Soviet Union did the favored candidate get ALL the votes. It just doesn't happen in America. How can more people vote in a precinct than there are regisitered voters? At my precinct, there is a list of eligible voters. The voter signs his name when he votes.

Salt Lake City, UT

"How can more people vote in a precinct than there are regisitered voters? At my precinct, there is a list of eligible voters. The voter signs his name when he votes."

Yep, Richards, you are right. How can more people vote then are eligible? A thinking person would, after coming to this conclusion, investigate what really happened. And not just believe that chain email they got. A non-thinking person would just repeat what they've heard from conservative radio hosts.

But I already have a feeling I know what you are going to do.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

I don't think the voting rights act applied to white voters in Philly in 2010. At least not from BO and holder's reactions to white voter suppression that occurred there.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Don't expect the right wing to characterize this decision as legislating from the bench. But in 1965, conservatives most certainly would have been throwing fits if a Warren Court ruling had proscribed as remedial action the very measures that LBJ and Congress did put into law as the Voting Rights Act.

The Deseret News editorial calls it "shelf life." They may be right. But in 1965, it was urgently needed legislation for which LBJ personified Presidential leadership at its finest.

Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . SCOTUS has just killed effectively killed modern democracy."

Interesting comment.

Apparently, to liberals, "modern democracy" consists of permitting some people, primarily liberals, of course, to gang up on others, requiring them to bear burdens they don't want to bear themselves, whether or not that burden is necessary.

Sounds more like gang warfare, to me.

It's sad that such is the "modern democracy" liberals are selling. And that they get away with calling it democracy.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

It's about time our politicians and some people figured out that it's not 1965 anymore.

You can't make progress if you keep thinking we are the same as the people back in 1965. If we can have a black President and many black legislators... I think that shows we have made some progress. So it's time to get rid of some of the laws motivated by the problems we had in the 60s and see how the public responds to their new freedom. IF they go back to the practices of the 60's... then we have failed and the laws can come back. IF we have actually made some progress... then maybe throwing out some laws based on the problems of the 60s would be a liberating and a "good" thing.

Then and only then can we find out if people have really changed... or if they were just controlled by these outdated laws keeping them from being racist.

I don't think we need this law anymore. It is just a symbol of the past. We should not be living in the past.


I've worked as an election judge for several elections. So to answer the questions

If you do not have an accepted ID, you may vote provisionally. This gives you time to go to the Clerk's office and show your ID. Failure to do so means your ballot will not be counted.

It would be possible to have more people vote than are on a register. Some people vote in the wrong place. Some people say they are registered but no record can be found. Some people vote via mail and then say they didn't. All these people are allowed to vote provisionally. The Clerk's staff then researches those ballots and decides whether they are valid or not.

If there is a question of whether a person is eligible to vote, the voter should ALWAYS be given the benefit of the doubt. The Clerk's office has time to make a decision after the fact.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I have to wonder if Democrats think they need to keep the 60s going, and the illusion that we haven't made any progress since the 60s, and we need the Race-Based laws we needed in the 60s, to keep minority voters voting for them in such high percentages.

If people learned that we don't need these laws anymore... How would Democrats drive that wedge every election, and make the case that minorities must keep electing Democrats or they will be right back on the plantation? (google Joe Biden "Republicans are going to put Y'ALL back in chains" remark, or Democratic party chair promising to send Mark Sanford "Back to the plantation").

Democrats drive this wedge EVERY election (with great success). But if people figured out we're not in the 60s anymore, and Republicans really aren't the enemy wanting to put us back on the plantation... they may lose that key voting block, and that huge advantage in every national election.

I'm just sayin... it seems Democrats pull that same trick and scare voters into thinking it's the 60's or "the plantation" if we don't elect them EVERY election.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

It’s no longer 1965 but denial of rights is as morally wrong today as it was in 1965 and even before. A court-ordered remedy is meant to immediately address injustice. But Federal law in response to institutionalized repression is itself an institutionalized response in what we call government by the people.

Whether or how realities change over time is a matter of perception that doesn’t render the law discardable on whims of the day. Congress can repeal the law but has not seen fit to even amend it. The Court can reverse earlier rulings on Constitutionality as it has done here with another 5-4 decision on a Federal law it upheld intact only four years ago. For a landmark piece of civil rights legislation that weathered the test of time for half a century, that’s sure to be debated for years to come.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

2 bits,

"....I have to wonder if Democrats think they need to keep the 60s going, and the illusion that we haven't made any progress since the 60s, and we need the Race-Based laws we needed in the 60s, to keep minority voters voting for them in such high percentages...."

Republicans might explore ways to get minority voters to vote for them instead of keeping them from voting at all.

We saw an ugly example here in the last election where Latinos vote Democrat by a large percentage. With Colorado a crucial swing state, our Republican Secretary of State led a campaign to purge voter rolls of ‘non-citizens.’ He sent out 4,000 letters advising voters they had to provide proof of eligibility to vote. He confined the mailing to Denver which is the state’s Democratic Party stronghold. A Federal judge intervened telling him he couldn’t do that. A Denver TV news investigation showed most voters who received the letter were U.S. citizens and registered to vote.

Don’t tell me that voting rights is a dead issue that belongs back in the 1960s. Not after that fiasco.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Craig Clark,
1. What "Denial of rights" did doing away with this outdated law cause?

2. How are Republicans "keeping minorities from voting at all"?

3. Sounds like YOU are stuck in the 60s with a huge jug of coolaid.

4. Are you saying we need this law (which only applied in some Southern States) in COLORADO now??? We need even MORE laws like this? Man... you are not only stuck in the 60s... sounds like we're are even WORSE off than we were in the 60s! That proves the law wasn't working.

No.. there's no war against minorities, war against women, war against immigrants, war against whatever. This is all just stuff you get when you accept the Democrat rhetoric and consume too much MSNBC blather with your coolaid.

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