Webcomic explains how weakening the Voting Rights Act led to voter suppression in 2016

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/10/webcomic-explains-how-weakenin.html


This is an excellent summation of the situation and why it’s dangerous.


can anyone actually show any evidence that voter fraud is a thing?


Other than at the extreme ends of the probability curve or in conspiracy theory fantasies no.


Does it exist? Yes.

Does it happen on a scale that could actually change anything? No, not as far as anyone who’s actually looked into the subject can tell, as far as I’m aware. The numbers usually work out to be, say, less than 50 confirmed cases in the last decade in my state. I mean, if they’re all colluding on the same side and all in the state’s least populated county I guess they might flip a district or something…

The fun one that you often hear is about all those dead people voting, and they’re not wrong: there are actually plenty of dead people who vote in every election. Rather than outright fraud, what pretty much always happens there is that they voted early or by mail and then happened to die before election day.


The voting rights act as it stood was obsolete. Voter suppression is clearly not limited to states in the southern US. It needed to be expanded to all the states.


I saw a guy pay off a street person once. Guy looked like righty though.

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Did you see the map on the comic - it wasn’t just the south that had major issues and had to clear any changes to voting laws through the justice department. It’s just that it was the most wide spread and systemic in the south.


Yes. In election after election, Democrats keep voting.


Yes, now I’ve read it and I realize that I should have specified “section 4” as the part that needed expansion as it was the only part that is regionally applied. Also, I guess, the part that was impacted by Shelby v. Holder. I think and thought in 2013 that there was the danger of voter suppression popping up anywhere, not just in districts with prior history. So… I thought that section 4 needed expansion then, and even more now. Though the effects of it’s elimination were completely predictable at the time.


Sweet, more research time! So the article indicated that they didn’t just set certain geographical bounds for where that particular provision was in effect, but rather said that there were criteria set down and even showed that there were places where there had been protections which had been removed because the places no longer fit the criteria. The disclaimer gets out of the way first: I’m not a lawyer, I’m not studying to be a lawyer, none of my immediate family are lawyers, although my godmother is and so is the son of my favorite teacher in university. This is just something I do for fun so take my interpretations with an appropriate amount of salt. I’ve gone ahead and linked the relevant texts so you can interpret them yourself.

So off again we go to Cornell, which I swear is one of the best things to happen to the US: they have every federal law there is available to the public.

The relevant section to what was mentioned is this one, US Code Title 52 Subtitle 1 Chapter 103 Section 4. That’ll be section(a) if you please. Now I’m not going to paste that whole thing because it’s mostly just a single 400 word long sentence (did nobody teach these guys grammar?) But a lot of that is just repetition to cover numerous elective cycles. The gist is that whenever a state or political subdivision tries to do something called out in 10303(a), and that division meets the criteria set in the first sentence of 10303(b), then they undergo review before being allowed.

So that kicks us off to Section 3, B is particularly applicable, since we’re wondering about the criteria for being judged, and here we see the problem that Maiq takes and that the justices cited in the majority opinion: the law specified cutoff dates.

Is the currently effective passage, notice the problem there? We’re forced to work with the data from 1972. No changes after 1972 are reflected although Congress would be able to amend the law to do so, which was the complaint of the majority opinion. Maiq definitely seems to be right: a massive part of the blame lies on the legislators who should’ve fixed the section ages ago.


I like you…


The Supreme Court has given us Citizens United - the most disastrous decision in decades. If we were not a plutocracy before then, we sure as hell are now. (Dr. Evil’s #2 was right - the world IS run by corporations)

The decision in this case is also horrible. It is a step backwards, and it is a slap in the face to all those heroic people that sacrificed so much, just over 50 years ago in Selma, Alabama.

I fear what the Court will be like after the next appointment from President Mt. Dew.


I’ve met Andy Warner and talked to him and he’s an interesting guy. A lot of his work is about more ordinary everyday life things but even when it is he uses that to highlight larger systemic issues - like he wrote a book about the weird histories of random things but in following those stories he found that a lot of the inventors of those things happened to be women, and faced a lot of challenges in being taken seriously for their work, and he really makes an effort to include that part of the story, without detracting from the funny/unexpected/odd aspect of the book. Very cool.


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