The Norman Transcript

Editorials

June 30, 2013

Congress failing voters

NORMAN — Congress under George W. Bush, in 2006, voted overwhelmingly — 98-0 in the Senate and 390-33 in the House — to extend the Voting Rights Act, including the existing preclearance provisions for certain states, for another 25 years.

Yet, on Tuesday, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to effectively halt enforcement of the 1965 act, which requires advance approval of changes in voting laws in places with a record of discrimination.

In 2006 and again in 2009, the court told Congress to revise the VRA because it has not changed for nearly five decades. Congress was also to study how states and jurisdictions were subject to preclearance. The VRA mandated that some states, as well as counties in other states, were subject to special federal enforcement in an effort to make sure that racial discrimination against voters was not affecting their rights at the ballot box.

The VRA, in our opinion, worked to bring about greater participation by minorities in the voting process. It is indeed one of America’s great civil rights advances.

Yet Congress simply kicked the can down the road and now the Supreme Court, with this week’s decision, is kicking it back. In doing so, it sets up the perfect storm for potential chaos.

The VRA was founded on discrimination against blacks. Discrimination hasn’t gone away, but we acknowledge that its victims may have changed as well as the way the preclearance should be handled.

Unfortunately, the current Congress seems so polarized that it would be incapable of updating a voting rights law.

Congress must quickly move forward to protect voting standards and thwart changes to state laws that will make it difficult or impossible for individuals to vote, whether that be because of race, religion, gender or age.

Until then, we fear we no longer have a champion at the polls.

— The Joplin, Mo., Globe

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • There’s no need to fix system that’s working

    Lawmaker attempts to alter the way judges are selected are being challenged by the state’s lawyers. More than 1,800 signatures on a state bar association petition urging a “no” vote on Senate Joint Resolution 21 have been gathered in just ...

    April 18, 2014

  • On the side of openness

    Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has been criticized for failing to release emails and other information sought by press outlets who believe it was covered under the state’s Open Records Act. Now, Fallin is coming down on the side of keeping the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • A raise for troopers, but what about others?

    Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers could see an increase in their paychecks during the state’s next fiscal year, which begins in July....

    April 17, 2014

  • Top honors for NPS

    Top honors keep rolling in for both of Norman’s high schools. The district learned this past week that Norman High School and Norman North High School have been recognized as two of the most rigorous high schools in the country and in the ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Wind power bursting

    There are a few wind generators dotting the Norman skyline, but western and northwestern Oklahoma makes up for the deficit here. An industry group this week said Oklahoma ranks fourth nationally in the amount of wind-generated ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Protect your home from wildfires

    To most people, fuel is what you put into your gas tank. To firefighters, it means something altogether different. To people who make a living putting out fires, fuel is that material that feeds wildfires — and there is an abundance of it ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Let’s toast: Main Street bridge nearly complete

    It was January 2013 when crews began knocking down the Main Street bridge over Interstate 35. The timeline on completion has always been this May. If everything comes together and the weather holds for the next few days, the overpass and ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Yes to Capitol and museum

    Two major spending bills have emerged from the powerful House Appropriations and Budget Committee headed by Norman Rep. Scott Martin. Both are up for passage in the full House of Representatives. We believe both deserve passage....

    April 11, 2014

  • Assistance needed

    The planned reopening of the Canadian River bridge connecting Purcell and Lexington is still more than two months away. Some of the businesses that depended on cross-bridge trade may not make it that long....

    April 11, 2014

  • Voters need speak up

    As candidates gear up to get their names on the ballot this year, it also may be time for voters to take some initiative, too....

    April 9, 2014