Is Jim Crow Back? Racist Voter Laws Exclude 5 Million Blacks, Latinos From Polls

Voting-rights expert reveals how you can fight discrimination at the polls.

Voter ID laws subvert the election process: Research from the Brennan Center for Justice shows that the regulations disproportionately impact Blacks and Latinos, while a new study from the National Congress of American Indians reports that these laws can decrease participation in Native American and Alaska Native communities. How can you fight discrimination at the polls? Voting-rights expert Keesha Gaskins tells you what you can do in the video below.


Gaskins, who is senior counsel at the Brennan Center's Democracy Program at the New York University School of Law, spoke at DiversityInc's recent Diversity-Management Best Practices From the Best of the Best event in New York City, where guest CEO and senior-executive speakers presented their best-practice strategies for implementing successful diversity management.

During her keynote, Gaskins explains how the laws impede on Americans' voting rights and compares them with the era of Jim Crow laws (scroll down to view the video table of contents):

"As a nation, we found ourselves in the 2011–2012 legislative session seeing a retrenchment in voting rights that we have never seen before in this nation, except for one time: Jim Crow," says Gaskins. "In that one single legislative session, between 18 and 20 months ago, 41 states introduced 180 restrictive voter laws, imposing restrictions on early voting, absentee voting, proof of citizenship at voter registration, proof of ID at polling, reducing opportunities for persons with felony convictions to be re-enfranchised, and third-party voter-registration activities."

She continues, "Jim Crow was from 1865 to 1967. During that period about 400 laws were passed restricting access by people of color—not just African-Americans, but American Indians as well as Asian Americans—from accessing systems, whether it was housing, voting, marriage, by operation of law. When you look at laws that specifically applied to voting, it's about 40 laws from 1865 to 1967. In the 2011-2012 legislative session, we passed 25 laws that restricted voting. We have not seen retrenchment in voting rights in this country since Jim Crow, and we have never seen it at this speed in this country, ever. It is absolutely the opposite of the way we've been trending toward universal suffrage. At its high point, the Brennan Center estimated up to five million voters had the potential to be disenfranchised."

Video Minutes:

0:00:00 About the Brennan Center

0:02:43 Democracy as a Group Process

0:04:41 Growth of Underrepresented Groups

0:09:34 One Person, One Vote

0:12:26 Increasing Amount of Unrest

0:15:04 Rise of Restrictive Voting Laws

0:18:35 Who Doesn't Have a Photo ID?

0:21:14 Misconceptions About Voter Fraud

0:24:43 Difficulty of Obtaining Photo ID

0:26:45 Stopping Restrictive Voting Laws

0:30:05 Political Gamesmanship in Electoral System

0:31:03 Legislative Changes

0:33:52 Judicial Changes

0:37:03 Possible Reforms

0:42:02 Corporate Role in Reforms

0:43:30 Helping People With Disabilities

0:45:07 Voter Intimidation, Misinformation

REUTERS

Democrats O​utraising Republicans in Key House Races

Party leaders, encouraged by recent victories in special elections in Pennsylvania and Alabama, hope it will be enough to help them flip 24 seats needed in November to wrestle control of the chamber from Republicans.

(Reuters) — Democrats have a $10.5 million fundraising advantage over Republicans in the 25 most competitive races for seats the U.S. House of Representatives ahead of the November elections, according to an analysis by Reuters.

Read More Show Less
REUTERS

Judge Rejects Missouri Governor's bid to Dismiss Criminal Case

The decision paved the way for the single-count felony case against Greitens, a Republican under mounting pressure from both parties to resign.

(Reuters) — A St. Louis judge on Thursday dealt Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens another legal setback in the sex scandal embroiling his office, refusing to dismiss a criminal invasion of privacy charge stemming from an admitted extramarital affair.

Read More Show Less

Firefighter Charged for Spitting on Black Toddler, Using the N-word Gets Job Back

It's not surprising as a Black firefighter once sued the Kansas City Fire Department for discrimination.

Terrence Jeremy Skeen, a 15-year veteran of the Kansas City Fire Department who spat on a 3-year-old Black boy and called him the n-word, has got his job back.

Read More Show Less
SCREENGRAB VIA FACEBOOK

Three LA Fitness Employees Immediately Fired for Racism

Unlike Starbucks, LA Fitness makes the right move and terminates the employees responsible.

Three employees at an LA Fitness in Secaucus, N.J., were terminated after they were accused of harassing two Black men who were simply trying to work out.

Read More Show Less

Starbucks: Don’t Close the Stores, Close Corporate Headquarters

Starbucks CEO has an epic fail in grappling with his racism problem. He is unprepared, and has no clue about how to be prepared. Don't expect this to end well.

Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 18 years of experience publishing DiversityInc.

In the aftermath of the racist incident in a Philadelphia Starbucks store, the company is going to close 8,000 Starbucks stores on May 29th for hastily prepared diversity training.

It's a mistake.

Read More Show Less
INSTAGRAM

Beyoncé Brings Black Pride to Coachella

The superstar made African American culture the star of the show.

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has carved a place in Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival history as the first Black woman to headline the event. The traditionally hipster/bohemian festival took a journey into Black America with Queen Bey at the helm.

Read More Show Less