Republicans in states across the south wasted no time taking advantage of the Supreme Court ruling that gutted the Voting Rights Act yesterday.
The ruling freed 15 historically racist states from needing federal approval before changing election procedures.
Initiatives like Photo ID laws and early voting hours are now up from grabs.
After the high court announced its momentous ruling Tuesday, officials in Texas and Mississippi pledged to immediately implement laws requiring voters to show photo identification before getting a ballot. North Carolina Republicans promised they would quickly try to adopt a similar law. Florida now appears free to set its early voting hours however Gov. Rick Scott and the GOP Legislature please. And Georgia’s most populous county likely will use county commission districts that Republican state legislators drew over the objections of local Democrats.
Southern Republicans largely hailed Roberts’ opinion as recognition of racial progress since President Lyndon Johnson signed the law at the apex of the civil rights movement.
“Over the last half-century, Georgia has reformed, and our state is a proud symbol of progress,” Gov. Nathan Deal said. “Today’s decision guarantees that Georgia will be treated like every other state – a right we have earned.” In neighboring Alabama, where the case originated, Gov. Robert Bentley said, “We have long lived up to what happened” in the Jim Crow era, “and we have made sure it’s not going to happen again.”
Democrats and civil rights attorneys lambasted the ruling as a setback for the very advancement Republicans highlighted, and the dissenters predicted a proliferation of laws designed to curtail minority participation in elections.
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