Laughlin McDonald

Laughlin McDonald is the director of ACLU's Voting Rights Project and the author of A Voting Rights Odyssey: Black Enfranchisement in Georgia.

Recent Articles

The New Poll Tax

O ne of the recurring scandals in American politics since passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is the discriminatory use of so-called "ballot security" programs. These programs are invariably presented as good government measures necessary to prevent voter fraud, but far too often they are actually designed to suppress minority voting -- and for nakedly partisan purposes. Take, for example, the last election. Shortly before this November's balloting, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a "Voting Integrity Initiative" to deal with voter fraud. Civil-rights groups raised concerns that the new federal initiative -- like so many local anti-fraud programs -- would unfairly target minority voters. As if to confirm that fear, the new program opened with a joint federal and state investigation of alleged voter fraud in South Dakota counties with significant American-Indian populations. The allegations and the probe, led by the state's Republican attorney general, Mark Barnett, came...