Brentin Mock

Brentin Mock is lead reporter for Voting Rights Watch, a partnership between Colorlines.com and The Nation magazine. Over the past year, he covered the voter-ID law controversy, felony disenfranchisement, voter intimidation and challenges to the Voting Rights Act.

Recent Articles

The War Against Early Voting Heats Up

The ink is barely dry on the report from President Obama’s election administration commission and states are already disregarding its blue-ribbon recommendations, namely around early voting. The endorsement of expanding the voting period before Election Day was one of the strongest components of the bipartisan commission’s report. But yesterday Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted released a new voting schedule that deletes both pre-Election Day Sundays from the early voting formula. Under the new rules, people can vote in the four weeks before Election Day, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on the final two Saturdays before Election Day.

The Latest Lie in the Push For Voter ID Restrictions

To the Republican supporters of laws that would treat the poll booth like an exclusive nightclub that asks for photo ID and other qualifications before allowing entry, the answer to why anyone would oppose this is simple: They must not want to vote badly enough.

Change is Bad. At Least for the VRA

Flickr/Ben Haley

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, the fifth time the Voting Rights Act’s Section 5 has been challenged in the high court since it was passed in 1965. Section 5 requires nine states and portions of six others with a history of racial discrimination to have changes to election law “pre-cleared” by the government before going into effect. Every lower court has upheld the provision as constitutional, and Congress reauthorized it four times—always with overwhelming bipartisan support. 

Something in the Water

D.C.'s Anacostia neighborhood struggles with the double burden of high unemployment rates and environmental degradation. Can green stimulus efforts offer lasting change?

Trash piles up on the Anacostia River in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Jackie Ward of the Ward 8 Environmental Council in D.C. once did "something crazy" for the Anacostia neighborhood. With the help of colleagues, co-workers, and friends, Ward convinced the District of Columbia Public Schools to release the most troublesome 7- to 9-year-old students from Southeast D.C.'s poor, black community, for a weekend of camping and learning about their outdoor environment. The outing was near Marvin Gaye Park, an area that was once a haven for junkies until community volunteers cleared it of thousands of hypodermic needles.

The Gulf Coast is America's Lower 9th Ward.

Four years after Katrina, government bodies are still shuffling about trying to figure out what is the best future policy for a sustainable, prosperous New Orleans. The challenges facing the Gulf Coast are the same facing the nation: developing housing, improving health care, closing educational achievement gaps, de-concentrating centers of poverty, and achieving security from climate change and its related disasters. Except in the Gulf Coast these problems are much more pronounced. If the federal government were ever to focus on this region, the solutions produced for these social and environmental ills could be applied broadly across the nation.

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