The Voting Rights Act at 50: New Study Released on Race and Voting

VRA@50

A new study from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, 50 Years of the Voting Rights Act: The State of Race in Politicslooks at the impact of race in voting since the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

From the Joint Center:

Key findings:

  • The black/white racial gap in voter turnout has decreased dramatically in presidential elections since 1965.  
  • Local election turnout is generally less than half of presidential general election turnout.  As overall turnout declines in local elections, the electorate may become less diverse.
  • Turnout rates among both Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans in presidential elections remain 15 to 20 points below white Americans.
  • Since 1960, the party identification and partisan voting patterns of blacks and whites have become sharply divided.
  • In urban local elections, race is a more decisive factor than income, education, political ideology, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender, and political ideology.  
  • Based on available data from 1972 to 2010, blacks were the least advantaged group in America in terms of policy outcomes.    
  • Since 1965, the number of elected officials of color has grown enormously, but people of color remain underrepresented in elected office.  

Read the study in its entirety here.

Photo: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Rep. Hank Johnson: Clarence Thomas is Worse Than NSA Leaker Eric Snowden for Gutting VRA

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) slammed Clarence Thomas in a recent interview, admonishing him for voting to essentially gut the Voting Rights Act.

According to Johnson, Thomas’ horrific vote ranks below the actions of Eric Snowden, the NSA contractor wanted by the government for leaking classified information about U.S. surveillance programs.

VA Gov. Bob McDonnell Commits to Expediting Restoration of Voting Rights for Non-Violent Felons

As NewsOne reports, Virginia’s Republican Governor Bob McDonnell raised eyebrows recently, announcing that he will make it easier for non-violent offenders to have their voting rights reinstated.

What’s more, he did even after a panel ruled that the Constitution does not allow for McDonnell to do so.

NewsOne:

Call this a case of a politician doing right, which unfortunately is becoming out of character and unexpected these days.

1965 Voting Rights Act Being Challenged in Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s conservative justices have expressed skepticism regarding a key element of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Specifically, they voiced displeasure with a provision that forces states with a history of discrimination to have changes to their election process approved.

Liberal and conservative justices went back and forth for a tense 70 minutes over the provison.