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Voting Rights Act at 50: States' voting laws under scrutiny

August 6, 2015

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

On the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, two lawsuits challenging voting laws in Texas and North Carolina have been argued in federal courts. Early this month, a federal appeals court decided that a Texas voter ID law violated the Voting Rights Act because it has a "discriminatory" effect on minorities. In North Carolina, a judge will rule on a challenge to a 2013 state law that requires voters to present a state-approved voter ID at the polls and shortens the number of early voting days. The law also repealed a number of procedures that were put in place a decade ago to make voting easier.

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, which turned 50 on Aug. 6, during the height of the civil rights movement. The Voting Rights Act made illegal voting restrictions such as literacy tests, poll taxes and vouching requirements that were used to prevent minorities from voting. The Justice Department was given oversight of elections in Southern states that had a history of race-based voter suppression, forcing state governments, including Texas, to get clearance from the Justice Department before changing voting laws to ensure that they were not discriminatory.

In 2013, the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder blocked that key provision in the Voting Rights Act related to federal oversight. The Supreme Court invalidated the provision because it was based on data from 40 years ago. The court said Congress should devise a new formula based on current data to decide which states required federal oversight. After the ruling, several states passed voting laws. The state laws can be challenged in court, but plaintiffs must now prove that the laws harm minority voters.

Shortly after the Shelby County ruling, North Carolina enacted its law, which repealed a number of voting procedures that increased voter turnout, especially among African Americans. It reduced the number of early voting days, mandated a state-issued or approved voter ID on Election Day, stopped same-day registration, ended the practice of counting a vote if it was cast outside the person’s assigned voting district, and ceased allowing pre-registration of 16- and 17-year olds.

The law was immediately challenged in federal court by the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and the U.S. Department of Justice. The challengers argued that African Americans and Latinos were disproportionately affected by the repeal of same-day registration and out-of-district voting, and that even though the turnout among minorities still increased, it should have been higher based on comparisons to other states and the national average.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and other defenders of the law said that his state's law was intended to end voter fraud and cut costs. Same-day registration, they argued, put an extra burden on voting officials who had to verify that the information submitted on Election Day was accurate and that a legitimate voter had cast the ballot.

Closing arguments in the case were heard in late July. 

The Texas law, considered one of the toughest in the nation, requires voters to bring a government-issued photo ID to the polls. These include a driver's license, U.S. passport, a concealed-handgun license or an election identification certificate issued by the state Department of Public Safety. The plaintiffs said the law was discriminatory because more poor people and minorities did not have those types of ID and could not easily access the documents, such as birth certificates, needed to get them. Student ID cards, voter registration cards and utility bills are not accepted. 

Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement: "Texas will continue to fight for its voter ID requirement to ensure the integrity of elections in the Lone Star State."

"It does show the continuing relevance of the Voting Rights Act even in its weakened form," said Wendy Weiser, of the Brennan Center for Justice, which represented some of the plaintiffs.

The federal appeals court sent the case back to a lower court to consider how to fix the discriminatory effects.

What do you think?

Are the Texas and North Carolina laws fair or discriminatory? How can states balance preserving the integrity of elections while ensuring all voters have access to the polls? Should the Justice Department have oversight of election laws in states with a history of discrimination? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!


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Comments
3/16/2018
New York
Bailey
Colby/Belleville
The laws are discriminatory, just because they are asking for you to have id when you are voting now should not be seen as a bad thing. Just because some states have some discriminatory history doesnt mean that they should just let everyone be free in everything they do. you do need some laws and i think that this one could be in good use. Not only to make elections easier but to keep fraud from happening.

3/16/2018
Belleville/NY
Ethan
Colby/ Belleville Henderson
I feel that the Voting rights act that made polls illegal are still just today for a number of reasons. The biggest reason I feel that this is still right is the fact that it does not discriminate against people of a certain race religion or color. Therefore I feel that it should stay where it is at and in place.

3/15/2018
New York
Aliyah
Belleville Henderson Central
I believe the Texas and North Carolina laws to be fair. I believe this because it has the potential to cut down on double voting, voting fraud and pre registering before your of age. I also believe their laws to be fair because no matter your financial state I think you should have easy access to some kind of ID that they require to be able to cast a vote. States could balance preserving the integrity of elections with ensuring access to polls by placing polls in easy to access areas and highly populated places. I believe it could be a good idea for the Justice Department to have oversight of election laws in states where discrimination was a previous problem.I believe this because it puts in some effort into putting an end to some of the discrimination some cultures face. I also think it could lead to problems among some voters claiming discrimination in their state is a thing of the past and the presence of the Justice Department is unnecessary.

3/15/2018
Mannsville/N.Y.
Joshua
Colby/Belleville Henderson
I believe that voting law changes are fair. I also think that the Justice Department should have oversight of election laws in all states, not just states with a history of discrimination. I believe that if you are going to vote you should have ID to prove that you are a U.S. citizen. I also believe that they should make it easier for the poor the get an ID and be able to show their opinion and vote.

3/15/2018
Belleville
Allison
Colby
I do not believe that voter I.D. laws are not discriminatory towards minorities. These laws were set in place to ensure that the people showing up to vote are truly who they claim to be. I do, however, believe that they should make it so poor immigrants have an easier way of obtaining an I. D. If they want everyone to have one, they should be more understanding of each person's situation and know that obtaining an I.D. could be harder for certain people. As for an oversight of election laws, the Justice Department should have oversight in all states, instead of just ones with histories of discrimination.

3/15/2018
New York
Marissa
Belleville Henderson
In my personal opinion, the Texas and North Carolina laws are fair. As stated in the text, the states had to get clearance from the Justice Department before they could change the voting laws to ensure they weren't discriminatory. States can balance preserving the integrity of elections while ensuring all voters have access to the polls by pricing an individuals photo ID charge based on their income and taxing charges. I believe the Justice Department should have oversight of election laws in states with a history of discrimination, because it will aide in the issue of voting for all minorities.

3/15/2018
New York
Zane
Ms. Colby
The Texas and North Carolina laws are fair. If it is considered discriminatory by some, they should provide evidence through a specific person being denied the right to vote. If it is because said person has too low of an income and can't afford a form of Photo ID or obtain access to their birth certificate, how are they suppose to be caught up accurately on the status of the election anyhow? If the person is not registered as a United States citizens and do not have legal papers to stay here, shouldn't the person be persecuted because someone has provided evidence that they were illegally living in the United States? If it is truly discrimination, we would need hard evidence to conclude such a statement. If voter registration by people of a certain race drops dramatically because of these new regulations, should it be investigated that a high population of illegals could be occupying said state? Or maybe the price of obtaining Photo ID is too high? We should be asking these questions opposed to the ridiculous question of "Why should we provide evidence that we're are legal citizens in order to vote?", because it is quite self explanatory that we wouldn't want skewed polls.

3/15/2018
Belleville/NY
Kole
Colby/BHCS
I think that the North Carolina and Texas laws are fair because people should be required to produce an idea for several different reasons. Some reasons are to make sure they are 18 or will be 18 by the day the voting will take place.

3/15/2018
NY
Alexandria
Ms.Colby/ BHCS
I believe that the Texas and North Carolina laws are fair. Ibelieve this because, not having people show ID makes it so they don't interfere with the results.

3/15/2018
New York
Jordan
Belleville Henderson
I believe that the Texas and North Carolina laws are fair. You should have to show ID and prove who you are before you vote. There are many different forms of ID out there these days, so everyone should have something to prove that they in fact are an American citizen. And then they shouldn't have any problems when going to vote. This is not a discriminatory thing.

3/15/2018
Belleville/New York
Grace
Miss Colby
I believe the Texas and North Carolina laws are fair, for the reason of the importance of the individuals that are allowed to vote and are able to. Good choices come from those who know what is going on. So, for states to balance preserving the integrity of elections while ensuring all voters have access to the polls, they should have some type of organization for people to learn more about how the election process works. I think that the Justice Department should have the oversight of election laws in states with the history of discrimination.

3/15/2018
New York
Aidan
BHCS
In my own opinion I think the Texas and North Carolina voter ID laws are fair. I agree with these state laws because it makes sense to make voting more difficult, because you don't to have an unfair vote or an illegal voter, because you can end up getting in trouble too. How I think states could balance preserving the integrity of elections while ensuring all voters have access to the polls is by decreasing prices so illegal people who are too poor, so they can't afford to vote can vote. I think it would be best in mind that the Justice Department has oversight of election laws in every state.

3/15/2018
belleville/new york
sherry
colby/belleville henderson
I believe that the Texas and North Carolina laws are fair. I believe this because you should have to show I.D for many reasons. Some of the reasons are so that people know who you are and you don't do anything that you are not suppose to do. If people show I.D it will decrease the amount of voting fraud that happens.

3/13/2018
New York
Madison
Belleville Henderson
I believe that the Texas and North Carolina laws are fair. I believe them to be fair because you should be required to produce an I.D. for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is so people can't vote more than once. Another reason is so that 16- and 17- year olds are not pre-registering. The last reason I believe people should be required to show I.D. because it will help to decrease the amount of voting fraud. The states can balance preserving the integrity of elections while ensuring that all voters have access to the polls by only having one form of identification whether it be a birth certificate or a drivers license any valid form of I.D. should be allowed. However the concern with this matter is that people my not be able to obtain a drivers license, their birth certificate, or a passport. If a person is not able to obtain a valid form of I.D. anyone regardless of race, gender, or income can obtain a simple photo I.D. at any local DMV and that can be used as their I.D.. I do not think that the Justice Department should have oversight of elections laws in states with a history of discrimination because that is discrimination itself. All states regardless of the past are required by law to the people the right to vote without discriminating against race or sex.

3/13/2018
belleville NY
jordon
colby/belleville
the voter I.D. laws are not unfair what so ever. the law was signed so that it would make people who are lazy an dont want to put in the effort to get what they need in order to vote. The voting rights act was put into place so that there were certain laws and regulations to be followed before being allowed to vote. in North Carolina the laws are not discriminatory towards anyone, minorities, African Americans, etc. all the laws that have been active for years are the ones that are best fit usually for the safety of the people. Voter I.D. cards was a good way to keep those who could not put in the effort.

3/13/2018
New York
Emma
Belleville Henderson
I believe that the voting law changes in Texas and North Carolina are fair. I do not believe that they are discriminatory against minorities, but it does seem that it makes it harder for the poor to vote if they do not have the money to obtain those legal documents necessary. I think that it would be best if the Justice Department have oversight over all states, not just those with a history of discrimination.

3/13/2018
Belleville, NY
Claire
Colby/ Belleville Henderson
I do not believe that the Voter I.D. laws are discriminatory. The purpose of these laws is to ensure that the voters are legally within their right. However, I believe that oversight of elections should be given to the Justice Department in all states. It is an important right to be able to vote and I think that it should be taken seriously.

3/13/2018
Belleville/ New York
Gianna
Colby/ Belleville Henderson
I believe Texas and North Carolina do not purposely try to discriminate, they want everyone to have an ID in order to vote to prove who they are and they want the voting results to be fair. There needs to be laws to protect our elections, and Everyone should have the right to vote, and ID helps make the election more accurate.

3/13/2018
Belleville, New York
Joseph
Belleville Henderson
I believe that the laws in Texas and North Carolina are fair and not discriminatory, although I do not know how easy it is to get proper ID to vote in Texas and North Carolina. If it is easy and inexpensive then I would say it is fair because it won't discourage poor people, it will discourage the people who don't care enough about the political issues in our country.

3/13/2018
Belleville/New York
Alicia
Colby/Belleville Henderson
I believe Voter I.D. laws are not discriminatory because a person should be able to prove who they are in order to vote. States can balance preserving the integrity of elections while ensuring all voters have access to the polls by making it easier for a person to get the proper I.D. or by permitting other forms of I.D. such as a Student I.D. card to be used as identification. I don't believe that it is currently too difficult to get a proper I.D., but someone who may have different financial standings may disagree. If someone is really pinching their pennies, they may not have even a few dollars to spare in order to pay for I.D. like a driver's license. Who is to say that they don 't deserve to vote just because they can't afford an I.D. I believe the laws are necessary, however, if they are going to be in place then there should be a permitted I.D. which can be obtained without a fee.

3/13/2018
Adams/NY
Dylan
Colby/ Belleville Henderson Central School
I believe that being required to carry an I.D. to vote is not discriminatory at all. This is because if you are going to vote in the US you should be a US citizen. Therefore you should have at least some form of I.D. and the people trying to vote without having I.D. are normally illegal aliens. Therefore they shouldn't be voting in a U.S election anyways. #Merica

3/13/2018
Belleville/New York
Makenzie
Colby/BHCS
In my opinion I feel like being asked for id isn't a bad thing. Your id card, birth certificate, social security card is ways to show you are who you state you are. Voting is a huge deal to face, it's putting someone in power of our country so yes it's not a bad thing.. But on the other hand what if poor people want to make a difference and vote but they dont have none of those key pieces? We should less the amount of money it is to get those things as well as a easier way. It benefits everybody.

3/9/2018
Belleville, New York
Logan Corron
Belleville Henderson
I believe that the Voter I.D. laws aren't discriminatory because their purpose is only to ensure that the only people who are voting are legally allowed to be. Demanding I.D. at the polls doesn't discourage poor people, it discourages lazy people who do not want to go through the "effort" of presenting a birth certificate or any other government identification. If someone doesn't want to go through that "ordeal" then they more than likely aren't educated on the current political climate and really shouldn't be voting. It is every American's right to vote but it is also every American's duty to be educated on voter issues. These laws are necessary to protect the integrity of our elections.

3/9/2018
Belleville/ New York
Jayda
Colby/ Belleville Henderson
In my opinion, the Texas and North Carolina laws are fair, for the most part. I believe that if they want everyone to have an ID then they should make it so the poor immigrants can obtain one easier. By making it easier for everyone to access some form of ID, the states can balance preserving the integrity of elections while ensuring all voters have access to the polls. The Justice Department should also have an oversight of election laws in ALL states, not only the ones with a history of discrimination.

9/21/2016
Elk Grove, CA
Rendan
Horizon Charter School
If you think making it so illegal immigrants not being allowed to vote is discriminatory, then you have issues. If you don't have a birth certificate, drivers license, id card, or any other form of identification you shouldn't be allowed to vote. And the only people who dont have one of those things are... wait for it... illegal immigrants. I mean come on, just come to the US legally.

10/26/2015
Franklin/TN
Aleah
Mills/Franklin High School
I believe, that it was right of the Supreme Court to invalidate the antiquated regulations associated with the Voting Rights Act. However, the allowance of states to enact their own laws, like in the case of North Carolina and Texas more or less inhibiting certain rights of minority groups is unfair. State’s ideals of voting integrity can be achieved in ensuring the laws they pass do not affect any one group unfairly. In the example of Texas requiring a state ID to be presented at the polls, this legislation segregates minorities, like Latinos who do have as much access to these types of IDs. The state should ensure state IDs are easily available to everyone. The responsibility of the Justice Department is to enforce law, and administrate justice, and if the states are prohibiting minorities, and social sects from demonstrating the most basic democratic right of voting then they should be allowed oversight of election laws. The Justice Department should especially have oversight of the states with a history of discrimination, like Texas, and North Carolina.

10/26/2015
Franklin/TN
Emma Fisk
Mills/Franklin High School
The original intention of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was to encourage Americans to vote by lifting certain restrictions that, before, made it difficult for minorities, such as African Americans and Latinos, from voting. These laws enacted by Texas and North Carolina put another restriction towards these people who had just been granted the ability to have their voices heard. No matter which way you word it, these people, classified by race or low socioeconomic status, are denied the same rights as those of a white higher socioeconomic lifestyle. The intent of elections is to conclude the thoughts and opinions of a population, without bias of class or ethnicity. However, these laws do not reflect the desire of a bias-free result. While having a physical ID card has proven to be a quick way for people to vote, the necessary requirements for it can be too expensive for those of a poorer class. To solve the issue of balancing electoral integrity and encouraging voter turnout, I believe the Justice should focus on taking into account what the people of all races and classes can afford. Without the cutoff of lower classes can result in a less biased conclusion. It's impossible to reach a conclusion in elections that are completely without bias, but by allowing more people of varying backgrounds, the demographic is increased, allowing the voices of many muted people of minorities to be heard.

10/26/2015
Franklin/TN
Allen
Mills/ Franklin High School
In my opinion most of the voting rule changes are fair. With every law there will be supporters and people who say it is unjust. I believe that there is no problem with requiring a legitimate id in order to vote. Considering I am a white male I cannot speak from the prospective of a minority, however I do believe that it is a duty of an American citizen to vote and have an Id to prove that they are who they say they are. Also I think that the Justice department should have oversight in every state regardless of their history in order to ensure legitimate voting for our government’s officials.

10/26/2015
Franklin/TN
Matthew
Mills/Franklin High School
I think that the laws in North Carolina and Texas are not necessarily discriminatory against minorities or African Americans, but I do think that they both make it much harder and more strict for the poor to vote. The fact that it requires money and certain legal forms to get the IDs you need in these two states; it just makes it seem as though it's not fair to the poor. The poor are people who can be both unorganized and without money. When we take pride in giving every legal citizen the right to vote but then limit it to people who turned down the wrong road financially or who happen to have been born in a family that can't afford what they need to in order to live, that's when I believe that these new laws can be are unfair. Besides that point, I would say that these laws are generally fair. Just because they allow for strict voting practice in these states doesn't necessarily make them unfair when it comes to minority rights. I think that these states can balance preserving the integrity of elections while ensuring all voters have access to the polls by enforcing these new laws in a justifiable way. The law in North Carolina can be very limiting to certain voters, but I dont think it takes away an opportunity that is actually necessary. It may be harder to get the younger demographic to start voting, but that doesn't really skew the results, the law just makes the system more fair for the general population of voters. I think that the Justice Department doesn't really have to keep watch over states with a history of discrimination. This is because if new laws unveiled by these states look even slightly discriminatory, people will speak out against them, without a doubt. I also think that the new laws could honestly help boost the integrity of their elections because strict ID laws normally help boost the validity of the votes . And like I said before, these laws truly aren't discriminatory, they're just more strict on the poor community.

10/26/2015
Franklin/TN
Aleah
Mills/Franklin High School
I believe, that it was right of the Supreme Court to invalidate the antiquated regulations associated with the Voting Rights Act. However, the allowance of states to enact their own laws, like in the case of North Carolina and Texas more or less inhibiting certain rights of minority groups is unfair. State’s ideals of voting integrity can be achieved in ensuring the laws they pass do not affect any one group unfairly. In the example of Texas requiring a state ID to be presented at the polls, this legislation segregates minorities, like Latinos who do have as much access to these types of IDs. The state should ensure state IDs are easily available to everyone. The responsibility of the Justice Department is to enforce law, and administrate justice, and if the states are prohibiting minorities, and social sects from demonstrating the most basic democratic right of voting then they should be allowed oversight of election laws. The Justice Department should especially have oversight of the states with a history of discrimination, like Texas, and North Carolina.

10/25/2015
Franklin/TN
Morgan James
MIlls/Franklin High School
I think that Texas laws are not discriminatory but North Carolina's are. Texas laws explain that you must have a government issued ID in order to vote. ID is almost a must when it comes to voting to insure that people aren't voting more than once. Most people have some sort of identification and this is the best way to get the most people involved in polls. North Carolina on the other hand ended same day registration and didn't count votes cast outside a person's designated district. This discriminates many votes and takes away some of the populations votes which causes an inaccurate representation of voters opinions. States could provide a required government ID which would give everyone access to polls. I think it is also appropriate that the Justice Department looks over states with previous issues to insure no discrimination is continuing to happen. This will make sure we are having equal representation in states, with fair votes.

10/25/2015
Franklin/TN
Emma
Mills/Franklin High School
From what I understand in this article, neither North Caroline or Texas changed their laws to be discriminatory or even inconvenient, but to ensure that voting was fair and all results of voting would be the best representation of U.S. citizen's opinions. Despite their intentions however, it can be easily seen that either state could be considered discriminatory based on the outcomes of their laws. Something important to consider is why these were considered discriminatory and it may be because the restrictions placed on these rights unintentionally prohibited large portions blue collar workers from registering simply because of how great the inconvenience was. That as well as the inability to pre register as a minor does not encourage young voters to be involved as they should be encouraged. These groups are huge parts of society and politics and because of theses laws they may be denied a voice in important matters of their society.

10/25/2015
Franklin/TN
Jared
Mills/Franklin High School
By 2015, half a century after the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, problems with racial discrimination in voting shouldn't still be an issue. However, it is, and it is a very prominent situation. Most of the original southern states that had the stricter voting laws in order to keep the voting majority concentrated on whites have conformed to social standards. There is generally equal representation throughout the states, but a couple, namely Texas and North Carolina, are still on the border. NC did repeal some of the major voting procedures it previously had, but the debate coming from the NAACP and others argues the turnout among minorities still doesn't stack up well against the national average. So while the attempt by NC may have meant well, the statistics can't be argued with, and if minorities and the poor are still not having enough voting power, more most be done. The same goes for Texas, as the state seems to be too caught up on tradition of Voter I.D. cards. But for a state with such a big population, everyone who wants to vote shouldn't have to jump through various hoops to do that.

10/25/2015
Franklin/TN
Abdul
Mills/Franklin High School
T he Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the oversight provision of the VRA was an unacceptable mistake that opens a way for voting discrimination. North Carolina’s repeal of early voting and same-day registration discriminates against minority groups, especially African-Americans, who have consistently been, by many independent studies, found to vote at much higher rates in areas that allow these options. Even if provisional ballots still claim to count votes later, they rarely do, and only a third of them were counted in the last presidential election. Additionally, the Texas driver's license requirement is absolutely discriminatory. According to the U.S. Senate, countless numbers of low-income and impoverished citizens have their driver’s license suspended for an extensive period of time, due to their inability to pay expensive fines for minor driving offenses. This is currently a massive phenomenon that impacts hundreds of thousands of poor citizens annually in the U.S., a concerning issue on its own. It therefore further directly discriminates against this group of people in Texas polls since their license suspension denies them the ability to vote. Below this comment, Matthew respectfully noted that any person can afford a license. However, other factors such as the one previously mentioned must be weighed in analyzing these laws, and this undoubtedly illustrates their discriminatory nature. Notably, these new laws were ILLEGAL before the Shelby case, which clearly shows that the states do not always execute good judgement. This demands that federal oversight be re-executed on each state, since voting discrimination can easily be inserted into laws in a subtle way, regardless of whether they are intentional. Voting laws must be scrutinized before they can do damage, because any major risk of voting discrimination is unacceptable, especially to a democracy.

10/25/2015
Franklin/TN
Caleb
Mills/Franklin High SChool
Regarding North Carolina, which I think is the lesser evil of the two, isn't trying to restrict minority voters. I think, in a sense, they're trying to clean up the outdated jargon from they're legislature. Though they reduced the amount of early elections and took away same day registration, that doesn't stand for racism or discrimination. As a politician in office, it is the new Senator's job to make the people involved in their government. One could argue that he tried to do that by raising the bar a little. If you want to be actively involved in government, you should want to be involved, not just go vote without care. Texas, while I still don't think is specifically trying to be discriminatory, is making voting unnecessarily difficult. Showing three different forms of ID and not accepting common types of ID in order to meet the extent of the law is ridiculous.

10/25/2015
Franklin/Tennessee
Madeleine Surdacki
Mills/Franklin High School
I think the North Carolina law is a direct violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Most low class Americans work very long hours and have very restricting schedules. Some working multiple jobs while still responsible for multiple children. By limiting the number of days they can pre vote, they are restricting those people's ability to vote. This results in a weaker representation of lower socioeconomic classes. Thus, we are taking away those people's voice in policy making.This law discriminates against those who have limitations on their time. It's not fair to assume that every American can rearrange their whole lives around one election date. Therefore, I think the act should be repealed to allow equal voting opportunities for all Americans.

10/23/2015
Franklin/TN
Amelia Crowther
Mills/Franklin High School
I believe the new voting laws are unfair. While I think that requiring ID can lessen voter fraud, I also think that they discriminate. The more stringent regulations may not have been intended to exclude people, but they make it more difficult for people to vote. And it makes it more difficult to for minority groups especially. The purpose of voting is to reflect public opinion so that the government can accurately represent the people. When going to vote is difficult for certain groups in particular, that's a form of undercoverage. Although the voting laws in Texas and North Carolina are trying to preserve the integrity of elections, they're excluding groups from the political conversation.

10/23/2015
Franklin/TN
Matthew
Mills/Franklin High School
The ability to acquire a form of identification should be considered when challenging the Texas law. In the end, this is the most important factor. This is because it only discriminates against a "poorer" minority if money is required to acquire these forms of identification. I believe that most if not all states require some kind of monetary payment for any kind of id issued. The real issue is whether that money is too significant for a "poor" Texan. According to the DMV. org, the price to acquire a drivers license in the state of Texas is 16 dollars. I believe it physically possible for ANY american to acquire 16 dollars. That's like two hours at MacDonald's. If you can't work, and you want to vote, i'm sure you get some kind of life support in terms of money or you wouldn't be alive. The second problem some one could argue is how "hard" it is to get said identification. It takes just as long for me to get an id as it does that random guy on the street. Basically, anyone who says they can't get an id are just too lazy to bother spending time on it. If you want to vote, you have to spend time anyway. So why bother spending time complaining about restrictive voting laws when you can be getting an id at the moment. However, if Texas laws makes it impossible, in some situations, for some one to acquire an ID , the law should be looked at again.

10/23/2015
Franklin/TN
Briana
Mills/Franklin High School
i believe that the new voting laws in texas are fair. If a person chooses to vote than they should have to come with some form of ID. Voter fraud has been an issue since the first election. There is no way to make it 100% fraud free, but making voters prove they are who they are is a step in the right direction. I think that if the government issued ID is to difficult to have fir minorities we should create a form of ID that is available to everyone. Everyone should have the right to vote, and by giving them an inexpensive ID helps make the election more accurate.

10/23/2015
Franklin/Tennessee
Cara
Mills/Franklin
In my opinion, nether of these states have unfair laws. it is completely fair to have NC improve voting conditions. As an American government, one main goal is to get voters and NC has made that easier for everyone. With TX, while I understand that not everyone has equal access to ID, it is accessible. Ensuring voter identity is crucial throughout the election so therefore we need proof. Because we live in America, we have certain rights and freedoms given to us and voting is one of them. All in all I believe both of these laws are fair and we should do as much as we can as citizens. While some people may claim discrimination, in my opinion it is too much of a stretch to be classified as so in court, therefore making the issue larger than need be.

10/22/2015
Franklin/Tennessee
Hannah
Mills/Franklin High School
The challenge against North Carolina were valid, because their laws were discriminatory and that could be seen in the voter turn out. It directly showed who it affected. Though it mostly harmed African Americans and Latinos it would really affect anyone and is directly denying their right to vote by not allowing same-day registration which many people need. Texas however was requiring something that was much different and was not discriminatory. A government issued ID is something that Americans are required to have for many different things and it is not an odd thought for them to be required by the polls. When voting for government something from the government is necessary for legitimate reason. Since it is hard to decide sometimes between things like this having an oversight by the Justice Department is something that would be very beneficial to voters to ensure all their rights are protected and that they can vote as they should.

10/22/2015
Franklin/TN
Emily
Mills/Franklin High School
In my opinion, the new voting laws in Texas, and the voting laws in North Carolina, are not only fair, but also necessary. We live in a country whose government, though it apparently stands for freedom and justice, is riddled with corruption. I do not believe that these laws were created to be discriminatory against minority voters. The ability to vote and have a voice is a very important part of being an American, and every elligible voter should have the opportunity to use this ability. However, because voting is such a crucial part about being a US citizen it should not be taken lightly. If strict voting laws regarding IDs and early-voting prevent corruption in the voting system, then I say they are needed. It may be an inconvenience to some Americans to gain the proper ID, or to vote on Election Day, but that inconvenience is nothing compared to the shameful mockery being made out of our voting system by corrupt officials and Americans. The less corruption in our government, the better, not only for white Americans, but for minority Americans as well.

10/22/2015
Franklin/TN
Matthew Wells
Mills/Franklin High School
I believe that Texas' laws are not discriminatory because it doesn't discriminate against minorities specifically. Only those not able to afford one of these licenses would not be able to vote, and this does not exclusively restrict any specific minority from being able to vote. In addition, IDs are needed to maintain the integrity of the vote and keep people from voting twice, making them an essential tool in the voting process. North Carolina's laws, however, are purely restrictive for unjustified reasons. Even though such methods will cut costs, these laws will prevent a significant chunk of the population in that area from voting, specifically limiting the younger demographic by removing early registration and limiting the number of days one can vote (older people are more likely to be retired and thus have more opportunities to vote). This skews the overall poll results, and this law shouldn't be enacted in order to avoid this problem.

10/22/2015
Franklin/TN
Anna
Mills/Franklin High School
I believe that because North Carolina changed so many policies and made it so much more inconvenient to vote that they are being discriminatory. By reducing the number of early voting days and eliminating pre-registration and same-day registration they make it much harder on people who have a stricter schedule to obtain the proper registration for voting. Many of those people who would have a stricter schedule would be in a lower socio-economic class and may be trying to work longer hours or multiple jobs and rely on the early voting days to cast their ballot. This eliminates a large and important group of citizens from the election.

10/22/2015
Franklin/TN
Emma
Mills/Franklin
I completely understand where both states are coming from, proper identification and protection from fraud over a matter as important as voting is nothing to take lightly. However, I feel that it is definitely possible that NC stepped over the line in this matter. In my opinion, although I am by far no expert, NC was fixing something that wasn't broken. The best example is when it decided to reduce early voting days. It isn't that I find this discriminatory, but it becomes a hindrance to the population of the state as a whole. Why limit the opportunity to vote, when that is the main way that citizens take part in government control? For that one law change, I in no way understand how that would limit fraud or help the voting process.

10/22/2015
Franklin/TN
Rhett
Mills/ Franklin High School
Voting is a vital aspect of any democracy because it allows citizens to have a say in their government. The voting laws in both North Carolina and Texas are fair because they provide a way for any citizens to be able to voice their opinion. Both laws are intended to preserve the integrity of elections and will do that by requiring a voting ID at the polls. The laws provide several ways to acquire one, and it requires documentation the all citizens of the United States should have readily available. If not, there are various ways to go about getting these files, and those who want there voice heard should certainly be able to do this with ease. As with the North Carolina law, voters have plenty of time before election day to get the necessary documents and plan ahead to vote in their own district.

10/21/2015
Franklin/TN
Madi
Mills/Franklin High School
I believe that the new voting laws in Texas are fair; if one is a U.S. citizen, one should have access to government-issued identification. While it may mean putting away money to purchase one or going to incredible lengths to access your birth certificate, identification is a critical part of our society. In that way, I believe it is not discriminatory to ask for certain identification in order to protect the reliability in the polls. However, I do not think that the laws in North Carolina are fair. While they were probably not created with the intention to discriminate, they certainly do change the entire system of voting in their state. I think these states had good intentions for changing these laws and probable cause, but because it does potentially conflict with the Voting Rights Act, I believe that a compromise could be made to satisfy the act of 1965 while also protecting the integrity of the polls.

10/1/2015
Irving/Texas
Erica
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe the laws are unfair. The Voting Rights Act was enacted to remove barriers and allow more people to participate in the government, to have a voice. The Justice Department should be able to have oversight, but the procedures followed to ensure voter fraud or any rigging of the ballots aren't an issue, within reason.

10/1/2015
irving/tx
Luz Martinez
Bradley/Nimitz high school
Voting is really important is your voice as an American citizen. It's your opportunity to be heard, to hold elected officials accountable for their decisions and to have a say in important issues that effect your community. I believe that the Texas and North Carolina's law is fair because it is important to identify the individuals that are able to vote. We want people who can make good choices and who help contributing in the process of electing the best candidates who all together create our government. States can balance preserving the integrity of elections while ensuring that all voters have access to the polls, they should create programs that help citizens understand more how elections work. and makes it easy for them to participate in all elections.

10/1/2015
Irving/Texas
Daisy
Bradley/Nimitz
The Justice Department should have direct oversight over elections. This country is based on the wants and needs of the people and if registering to vote or voting itself becomes too much of a burden for the population, the government will not be a reflection as to what our society stands for. I believe most of these requirements are based items people should have at hand or times people should be able to accommodate to, however, if that is not the case, then that is something the national government should take up.

9/28/2015
Irving/TX
Kendyl
Etheridge/Nimitz
The Voting Rights Act was a law made to make the voting life easier for those who couldn't recieve the basic information, such as birth certificate, ID, and driver license, and things of that nature. Since many people of Texas don't have ID's, Texas is really discriminatory against who should vote. Minorities should have the right to voice their opinion, because that is against their rights, if we don't let them.

9/15/2015
Irving/TX
Luis M
Bradley/Nimitz
The Voting rights act states was a key law shaped the course on how people can vote now. Today there are states that are violating this act because of different minority groups trying to vote, both Texas and North Carolina are prime examples of this problem. In these states, voters are required to show a voter's ID in order to vote, but this law says that any person should not have to show any voter's ID in order to vote. In reality, both the state of Texas and North Carolina are discriminating against people because this why the United States made this law, to not have to go through another racism problem. Throughout history there has been a lot of laws prohibiting the rights of voting to minority groups especially African Americans and today the government is trying to make it harder for them to vote and also many other groups. In the end, there is still trouble in our government but we can still fix it, many laws are being made today and have been for last years to make every citizen the right to vote for our future leaders.

9/11/2015
Irving, Texas
Anthony
Etheridge/nimitz
The reason for the Voting Rights Act was so that anyone 18 and up could vote, and not just the white people. Texas is a southern state that has a history of “race-based voter suppression” which can be proved by the oversight of The Justice Department. I do not think that it is fair because anyone who is considered an adult should have the right to vote.

9/11/2015
Irving/Texas
Cesar
Etheridge/Nimitz
The Voting Right act was passed 50 years ago to end discrimination while voting and the fact that states such as texas are still discriminating is appalling. Everyday it seems like were moving backwards instead of foward in the race towards equality. This type of behavior can't go undetected and unheard. We live in the 21st century and yet states are still segregating people base on their economic situation. We live in a democracy that is supposed to be by the people and for the people. You shouldn't be able to deny someone the right to vote because they don't have enough money. This is just plain wrong. Texas and North Carolina need to get their head right and realize that we live in a democracy

9/11/2015
Irving,Texas
Nicholas
Bradley
One thing that the U,s always relies on is the vote of the people and it is being questioned on the basis of these two cases questioning its validity on the voter identification of minorities. That is discrimination at its finest by not letting minorities have the right to vote. But now the law requires minorities to have certain IDs that they can't afford but by law it punishes them by not being able to vote. If the election wanted to get a vote that appealed to minorities, it shouldn't have the minorities unable to vote not because they don't want to but they can't because they don't qualify by the law.

9/10/2015
Irving/TX
Caroline
Bradley/Nimitz
The Voting Rights Act’s goal was to halt the voting restrictions that prevented minorities from voting; it intended to end the discrimination minorities faced when they voted. In order to protect their states’ integrity and prevent voter fraud, Texas and North Carolina are enacting laws that will add more requirements for citizens to vote. However, many people may feel as if these laws are not fair. The State of Texas is currently fighting for citizens to be required to bring a government-issued photo ID, but because many poor people and minorities did not have ID cards, they could not vote. Since many of their citizens do not have IDs, the State of Texas is restricting/discriminating against which citizens can vote. Voters are facing discrimination with these laws. The Texas and North Carolina laws are discriminatory. By not enforcing anymore requirements to vote, such as a government-issued photo ID and other paperwork, and by having a third party oversee the elections, states could find a balance between preserving the integrity of elections while ensuring all voter have access to the polls. Because of their power to prevent and correct any voter fraud, the Justice Department should have oversight of election laws in states with a history of discrimination.

9/10/2015
Irving/Texas
Julia
Bradley/Nimiz
Every individual should be treated equally.Taking away their right to vote is just like taking away one of the biggest right of the people.Therefore I think Texas and North Carolina laws are discriminatory. Texas and North Carolina make it too difficult for the poor people without an ID to vote.This is a discrimination against them and it is like not telling them to give their opinion in our state. People without an ID could also vote and so they will be treated equally and we could respect their right without a discrimination.

9/10/2015
Irving,Texas
Desarae
Bradley/Nimitz
When discussing the topic of the Voters Id Act in North Carolina and Texas I feel it is very discriminatory due to the requirements that will be taken into effect, if approved. The very reason behind my argument is because a birth certificate and photo ID from the states must be required to vote and many minorities may not have this. An example of this would be residents that are living here and reside in the United States and have no form of identification. One suggestion I feel that the polls could put forth to ensure integrity and equality is a law that requires proof of residency for at least a minimum of five years for anyone wanting to vote. Yes, I completely agree and feel that the Justice Department should have the right to oversight the election laws in states ,although, I feel the Justice Department should do this in every single state not just those with a history of discrimination. Overall as a whole I feel it is completely necessary to due so because of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that was put in place to ensure restrictions would not occur in our voting polls, if we do not take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening it will completely be defeating the whole purpose of the Act President Johnson pushed to have signed.

9/10/2015
Irving/Texas
Lija
Bradley/Nimiz
Everyone are equal at America , So I believe that Texas and North Carolina laws are discriminatory. America is a nation that welcomes all but when it comes to the voting of Texas and North Carolina it is affecting immigrants . The Texas and North Caroline law requires a lot of procedures which make the poor and immigrant people hard to vote. As a person living here everyone should get the opportunity to vote and everyone needs to vote. We can also include them to vote by reducing the procedures of voting and by making it easier to vote. So we can get everyone opinion in our state.

9/10/2015
Irving/Texas
Nimitz
Etheridge/Nimitz
The law in North Carolina stating only those who have been issued a state issued ID, and only voting within the persons voting district was aimed mainly towards those of the African American race. North Carolina also stated that they would not allow same day registration, and did not allow pre-registration to those of the age of 16 and 17. North Carolina only passed these laws to prevent African Americans from voting, so much so that the NAACP had to get involved. They knew the minorities were targeted in the recent passed laws. As in Texas, where it is pretty much required that every voter be a die hard american, the voting procedures make it hard for anyone who's not a full blown american with a gun, or gun license, to vote. A U.S passport is required, as well as the option of a gun license, which is nearly absurd considering if these items are not necessary to everyday life, why would we go out and get them? If states want to regulate voting, they shouldn't. What's the point in regulating such a thing. Everyone of us is human, everyone of us is born equal, and anyone should have the same rights as anyone else. As childish as it sounds, states should stop trying to belittle immigrants/minorities just because they weren't born in the U.S. The states treat minorities like the step dad would treat another man's son.

9/10/2015
Irving/Texas
Alec
Etheridge/Nimitz
One of the key things that makes the United States government what is is the fact that it heavily relies in the voting of the people, such as representatives. However, I do believe that there needs to be some kind of restriction that keeps voting organized and secure so that the mass population can cast their vote with security. I think that the voting license is a bit of a stretch because that keeps a lot of people away when their votes are the ones most states need to ultimately dictate the outcome of an election.

9/10/2015
Irving/Texas
Aron
Bradley/Nimitz
The Voting Rights Act's main purpose is to defend the rights of voters and ensure that all citizens, regardless of race or gender have a chance to get to the polls and vote. While Texas and North Carolina's attempt to ensure Voter ID and election integrity is for the better, North Carolina's outrageous attempts of cutting same day registration, pre-registration and early voting days is out of control and harmful to minorities and the poor. Voter ID as a whole is a simple way of ensuring election legitimacy as long as it is free and avalable; even India, a country with much more poverty has managed to bring ID to all of its voting citizens through the Electoral Photo ID Card (EPIC). However, the country also goes out of it's way to make sure everyone has a chance to register and vote, from making Voting day a holiday to bring polls to rural areas, unlike North Carolina who seems to put roadblock after roadblock including limiting early voting and stopping out of district voting, all in the name of profit. Voting ID itself is not inherently bad, but can actually be used for good; as long as the states provide citizens the means to actually get the ID and vote.

9/10/2015
Irving/TX
Scarlett
Etheridge/Nimitz
Everyone who is at an age where they can vote deserves equal voting rights because they are affected by the issues being voted on just as much as anybody else. Discrimination in voting is like telling someone that they do not have a say in their own future, and that their opinion of what their life should be like is wrong. Minorities deserve to have a voice in matters that affect them, and the communities where they live.

9/10/2015
Irving/Texas
Gabriela
Bradley/Nimitz
The Texas and North Carolina laws are discriminatory due to the reason that not everybody falls in those requirements. States can balance preserving the integrity of elections by having only an ID and being able to vote. My reason for that is because Immigrants also live here in the U.S and should be able to have the right to vote and express their opinion on what's best for the U.S. The Justice Department should not oversee the election laws, because it will create a problem that was solved years ago. States should not discriminate other people due to their status in the U.S. and should follow the laws as given and not exclude others on voting and give the opportunity to those here, the students and the contributors.

9/10/2015
Irving/TX
Leslie
Bradley/Nimitz
The Voting Rights Act made illegal voting restrictions such as literacy tests, poll taxes and vouching requirements that were used to prevent minorities from voting. Any U.S Citizen have the right to vote and their rights should be protected. The State governments such as, Texas and North Carolina, tend to go against the Voting Rights Act by creating discriminatory laws that restricts minorities from voting. I believe Justice Department should oversight election laws made in states with a history of discrimination. Texas and North Carolina do come from a discriminatory background (1861-When Confederate States existed) that causes these two states to create laws harming minorities voters. I understand they tend to preserve the integrity of elections while ensuring all voters have access to the polls when ensuring all private information is accurate of the voter,and saving themselves time. They tend to prevent fraud by only allowing voters that have driver's license,U.S passport or other government photo ID to vote to protect the voters privacy.

9/10/2015
Irving/Texas
Jose
Bradley/Nimitz
The laws in Texas and North Carolina are discriminatory because they are based in requiring an ID in order to vote. Many minorities might not have the necessary documents to get this voters idea which allows them to vote. This goes against what the Voting Rights Act intended to do. This act was to stop discrimination but sadly some states like to twist the law to get what they want in this case stop minorities to vote. States should balance votes by not putting any more requirements for voting other than to register as a voter and be a citizen of the United states. the Justice Department should oversight of election laws from states who had discrimination problems in the past. For this reason because many states don't want to change, and keep the minorities in check because they might not have the same mentality as the top class. This will ensure states to treat every citizen equal no matter their history and ensure that “we the people” can make a difference in this country by our votes.

9/9/2015
Irving TX
Alicia
Bradley/Nimitz
The Voting Rights Act was intended to further equality among minorities and the majority. The use of the act it perfectly clear and seemed it would work perfectly until it is shown that states may create their own laws that can only be repealed if they can be proven to be against minorities. The states who have taken advantage of this may cross a very thin line by saying voters need certain forms of identification. It cannot be proven to be targeting minorities but it prevents the state from hearing the voice of the full population. Without hearing everyone's voice, we are missing valuable input from our people and if they are rejected their right to vote, they aren't getting to take part in one of the most important parts of our government: the right to have a say in who runs our country.

9/9/2015
Irving/TX
Eric
Bradley/Nimitz
The right to vote is one of, if not the most major part of the United States government. It is something that has been debated ever since the colonists had first arrived. Limiting one's ability to vote would seem to not only seem unpatriotic, but also hypocritical. Though both negatives would seem to convince everyone to ensure the right of every citizen to vote, it's not as easy as it sounds. The laws that were passed by Texas and North Carolina are ones that are evident of limiting a citizen's right to vote, and though that is against what the government is for, I see it as a fair, and necessary step to ensure the legitimacy of all votes. Though I do believe that if citizen has an ID, and there was a system to keep track, and verify who is actually voting then there would be less fraud, and more participation. And finally I do not believe the Justice Department should have any say in election laws of the states because each state is different, and some have more fraud than others, so it wouldn't be fair to be harsh on all states just to prevent fraud, or too lenient in all states because fraud would be more of a commodity. It's easier to let states take care of their own matters in this situation because one state doesn't represent the whole country, so different actions should be taken for different scenarios.

9/9/2015
Irving,Tx
Maria
Etheridge/Nimitz
The Texas voting law is overall fair and people should not be able to just walk in and cast their vote willy nilly. Some precautions must be taken. Presenting a simple photo ID is a fairly easy objective to ask of a person. To do the most simple of tasks in the community, such as driving, getting a job, going to school, all require identification of some kind. These requirements fall into the same field of other requirments to get items in which people claim as difficult to obtain: for example a birth certificate. If a person can be fully involved in a community they can easily present the needed criteria for a basic photo ID, which is nowhere near a large burden to carry around.

9/9/2015
Irving TX
Rolando
Bradley/Nimitz
Voting one of the most important things in this country. Voting is one of our responsibilities as an American citizen. We tend to make the difference whether from popular vote or electoral vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 protects us "the people" and it shouldn't be violated or challenged. It's our duty to vote and it should be well protected, we all have a vote and everyone one of them makes a difference.

9/9/2015
Irving/TX
Katherine
Etheridge/Nimitz
It is the duty of the national government to protect and preserve the interests of its citizens. By removing the federal oversight clause from the Voting Rights Act, the Supreme Court put the voices of the people in danger. The laws passed by Texas and North Carolina are a sad consequence of what happens when the federal government lets states, which tend to have differing views, control the conditions by which the leader of our nation is chosen. These states have passed measures that allow voter discrimination based on social class and minority status. The laws keep younger citizens from voting, and also require an ID, which many minority citizens don't have or cannot obtain because of the documents needed. All in all, when the ability to regulate voting policies was passed from the federal to state governments, it created a situation wherein the original purpose of the Voting Rights Act, to end voter discrimination, was reversed.

9/9/2015
Irving/TX
Miryam
Etheridge/Nimitz
The Justice system should have a direct oversight over election laws in states. To be fair, it should be with every state including the states with a history of discrimination. Southern states like Texas and North Carolina have been strict upon voting laws because they believe that minorities are getting enough benefits and their voices are being heard, therefore the majority has felt the need to limit what I believe one of the basic rights of this country. The voting rights act is one of the most important rights because it has the power to impact America greatly. The act solely describes what the people think and who they want as their future leaders. It basically defines the favor of the people and it should not be limited to anyone because minority vote and majority vote are equally worth.

9/8/2015
Irving/Tx
Hernan
Etheridge/Nimitz
The purpose of the Voting Rights Act was to take out the barriers that prevented minorities from voting, which would in effect bring more votes, but not enough in this case because of the Texas and North Carolina laws. Texas is a southern state that has a history of “race-based voter suppression” which can be proved by the oversight of The Justice Department, but the data which is used was held for over 40 years. This data should be renewed. These states have an excessive amount of provisions, I don’t believe that the laws are fair because of the amount of provisions, and aren’t as discriminatory as they may seem because of the intent to ensure integrity of elections. But afterall, it is affecting minorities, and lowering the amount of votes that could make a difference.

9/8/2015
Irving/Texas
Nicole N.
Bradley/Nimitz
I feel as though the North Carolina and Texas laws are pretty fair, or at least as fair as they are going to get at this time. The Reason behind me saying that is because the states had tried to fix it, at least a little, to accommodate to more modern times and yet there are still people unsatisfied. Which bring me to my next topic in question that I really don’t think you can balance the polls just like that. There will always be people still suffering in some ways, but there does have to be boundaries and if the people happen to fall in those category of the boundaries set, then they have to live with it until a new reinforcement comes along.

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