WhoWhatWhy continues to expose voter suppression across the country. With reporters on the ground in Georgia and Florida, and ongoing reports from North Carolina, North Dakota, and other places, readers are getting to witness first hand the impact on minority voters of rejection of absentee ballots, the extremes of “exact match,” the consolidation of polling places, photo ID laws, poor voting machine security, and other methods, all designed to devalue the vote.
Our stories, however, are only a first step. We can point out the problems but others have to take the next step and do something about them. That is why groups like the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law are so important. They are fighting the legal battles in court on behalf of disenfranchised voters. Where once the US Justice Department might have stepped in to enforce the right of American citizens to cast their vote, now it has been left to outside lawyers — many working pro bono — to fend off ever more sophisticated voter suppression efforts.
In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Jeff Schechtman talks to Ezra Rosenberg, co-director of the Voting Rights project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. In many cases, after courts have intervened in favor of voters’ rights, legislatures have come back to tweak their suppression laws in an attempt to place further obstacles in the path of minority voters trying to exercise their franchise.
Still, there have been numerous successes — many of them based on reporters exposing suppression problems and groups like the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights fighting in court for fair elections.