Voter ID Laws Smacked Down as Being Overtly Racist

Recent court rulings in five separate states have overturned portions of voting laws the courts determined specifically restricted voting rights among minorities.


Two unrelated federal court rulings on Friday explicitly stated that voter ID laws in North Carolina and Wisconsin were created to disenfranchise Black voters. On Monday, a federal judge in North Dakota blocked a state voter ID law that he said unfairly burdens Native Americans.

A federal appeals court in Texas two weeks ago found that the state’s voter ID law was discriminatory and violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act by making it harder for Blacks and Latinos to vote.

Related Story:Texas Voter ID Law Discriminates, Federal Court Rules

Meanwhile, a state district court in Kansas on Friday said the state must count thousands of votes from people who did not provide proof of citizenship when they registered. A judge agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued the proof-of-citizenship requirements suppress voter turnout among minority voters far more than they combat fraud.

Voter ID and other restrictive voting laws disproportionately affect minorities and have been pushed by Republican state legislatures, critics say, for the sole purpose of keeping minorities and other traditionally Democratic voters away from the polls.

In North Carolina, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, writing on behalf of the three-judge panel, said the state’s voter ID law was “the most restrictive voting legislation seen in North Carolina since enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965” and targeted “African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”

The court said the state enacted provisions after the legislature analyzed specific data on the types of IDs used by race, as well as other voting practices.

“The legislature amended the bill to exclude many of the alternative photo IDs used by African-Americans [and] retained only the kinds of IDs that white North Carolinians were more likely to possess,” the court said.

“Winning an election does not empower anyone in any party to engage in purposeful racial discrimination,” the court continued. “When a legislature dominated by one party has dismantled barriers to African American access to the franchise, even if done to gain votes, ‘politics as usual’ does not allow a legislature dominated by the other party to re-erect those barriers.”

The court went on to say that, “In essence the State took away [minority voters’] opportunity because [they] were about to exercise it. This bears the mark of intentional discrimination. Faced with this record, we can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent.”

That same day, a separate federal judge struck down a portion of a Wisconsin law that he said specifically suppressed the Black vote.

“The legislature’s immediate goal was to achieve a partisan objective,” Judge James Peterson said in his ruling Friday. “But the means of achieving that objective was to suppress the reliably Democratic vote of Milwaukee’s African Americans.”

In North Dakota, U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland said a state law there disproportionately affected Native Americans. On Monday he issued a temporary restraining order and criticized the state for its repeal of provisions that let people without valid IDs vote if someone vouched for them or if they signed an affidavit swearing they were a qualified voter.

“The public interest in protecting the most cherished right to vote for thousands of Native Americans who currently lack a qualifying ID and cannot obtain one, outweighs the purported interest and arguments of the State,” Hovland wrote in his ruling.

“This was blatantly discriminatory,” said Tom Dickson, an attorney for the north-central North Dakota tribal members, to The Associated Press. “The point of these laws is to keep people from voting and suppressing the Native American vote, who generally vote Democratic in North Dakota.” He said some tribal members cannot afford the required identification, and others had to pay to get their tribal IDs updated with a valid address.

In response to the North Carolina ruling, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the law “sent a message that contradicted some of the most basic principles of our democracy. The ability of Americans to have a voice in the direction of their country to have a fair and free opportunity to help write the story of this nation is fundamental to who we are and who we aspire to be.”

Latest News

NCAA

NCAA Declares Full Support of Transgender Athletes; Pledges Its Events Will Be ‘Free of Discrimination’

In a blow to a growing number of states considering harsh and discriminatory bans on transgender rights, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has publicly come out in support of diversity and inclusion — backing transgender rights and saying that it will no longer hold championship events in locations that aren’t…

Black homeownership grows

Home Ownership Among Black Americans Increased Significantly in 2020 — But Rates Still Lag Dramatically Behind Whites

While the COVID-19 pandemic struck all Americans, Black men and women took the biggest hit, suffering greater levels of unemployment, poverty, food insecurity and even death from the virus than other races. But while all this was happening, something interesting and unexpected took place as well — homeownership for Blacks,…

Will Smith

Will Smith and Apple Pull Upcoming Film Out of Georgia In Protest of Racist Voter Suppression Law

The fallout from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to sign the most racist and restrictive voter suppression bill in the U.S. continues. First, Major League Baseball moved its upcoming All-Star game from Atlanta to Denver. Then, corporations ranging from Delta to Coca-Cola blasted the state and declared the bill as…

Kaiser

Kaiser Permanente: Diane Comer Named Chief Information Technology Officer

Originally published at about.kaiserpermanente.org. Kaiser Permanente is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   On April 7, Kaiser Permanente announced that Diane Comer has been named the organization’s new chief information technology officer. In this role, she will lead Kaiser Permanente’s focus on developing and delivering innovative, strategic initiatives that improve…

Sanofi Expands Its Social Commitments, Creates Nonprofit Unit To Provide Poorest Countries With Access to Essential Medicines

Originally published at sanofi.com. Sanofi U.S. ranked No. 28 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   In an open letter, Sanofi Chief Executive Officer Paul Hudson today outlined several key projects that the company will implement to increase the impact of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)…

Caron Nazario

Virginia Police Pull-Over, Threaten and Pull Gun on Black Army Lieutenant Because They ‘Missed’ New Purchase Paperwork on Truck He Was Driving

In the latest of a seemingly never-ending stream of cases involving police racism and organizational misbehavior, two police officers in Virginia have been accused of threatening a Black Army lieutenant — and pulling a gun on him — during a routine traffic stop involving vehicle identification. David K. Li of…

Georgia voter suppression protests

More Than 100 Corporate CEOs Discuss Ways to Fight Against Georgia Voter Suppression Law

On Saturday, April 10, the CEOs from dozens of the country’s leading corporations came together on Zoom to talk about ways Corporate America can aid in the fight against a number of controversial and racist voter suppression laws that are currently in discussion across the U.S., including the new law…