While widespread voter fraud may be a figment of President Donald Trump’s imagination, it should never be confused with voter suppression, which is very real. Two months out from the midterm elections, the basic rights of millions of Americans are under threat.
In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Jeff Schechtman is joined by Carol Anderson, the Chair of African American studies at Emory University and an authority on voter suppression — especially of the efforts to disenfranchise African American voters in the South.
She talks about how individuals within state governments are relentlessly fighting to deprive citizens of their fundamental rights. She explains how this is part of the long legacy of structural racism, which has become even more pernicious since the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder. That ruling eviscerated, in her opinion, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, by allowing states and communities with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice.
Anderson shares with Schechtman several case histories about states that have adopted voter suppression tactics, including photo ID requirements, poll closures, and voter-roll purging. She explains how they all work and how they can be combated.
Citing the recent victory of Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), she details how dedicated organizations and individuals were able to overcome almost every tactic of voter suppression and she talks about how this could be a template for the 2018 midterms.
This conversation with Carol Anderson — in which she draws from her book One Person, No Vote — is Voter Suppression 101: a fundamental primer on its reasons, its techniques, and the ways that it can and should be fought.