Liz Kennedy

Recent Articles

The Voting Rights Act at 50: Why We Still Need It -- All of It

Two years after a Supreme Court decision struck down a key part of the law, challenges to state-based voter suppression are finally winning in court. But litigation can't be the solution.

AP/Chuck Burton
(Photo: AP/Chuck Burton) Demonstrators march in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on July 13 after the start of the trial that challenged the state's restrictive 2013 voting law. The trial ended last Friday, but a decision has yet to be announced. Y esterday was the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which has been both sword and shield for racial equity and inclusive democracy. And yet today, the right to vote for millions of Americans is in more danger than at any time since the passage of the law, thanks to the Supreme Court decision two years ago that struck down the most important part of the law and cleared the way for states to enact targeted voting restrictions. Just six months after Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965, when nonviolent civil rights marchers were attacked in Selma, Alabama, on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Congress passed and President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The fight to realize political rights for people of color has been a story of...

SCOTUS to Texas: Go Forth and Discriminate Against Your Citizens Starting Monday

Wikimedia Commons
The Supreme Court said Saturday that, for the first time, it is allowing a voting law to be used for an election even though a federal judge, after conducting a trial, found the law is racially discriminatory in both its intent and its impact, and is an unconstitutional poll tax. It is not only not a good look for the court, it is an abdication of the federal responsibility to protect every American voter from racially discriminatory voter suppression. These continuing voter restrictions are the worst attack on Americans’ voting rights since Reconstruction led to the Jim Crow era. We are in the middle of the storm that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg described in her Shelby County dissent. Studies show that recent restrictions on voting were more likely to be introduced and adopted in places that saw increased political participation from lower-income people and people of color. Voting in Texas starts Monday, and the new law only allows seven forms of acceptable identification, including...

A Wild Week for Voting Rights

J ust a month before the election, voting rights have been on a wild ride. The Supreme Court began its term by reinstating voting restrictions in Ohio and North Carolina after federal appeals courts put these laws on hold for unfairly burdening voting rights, particularly for people of color. But last night, the Court took action to stop Wisconsin’s voter ID requirement from going into effect only weeks before Election Day, and a federal court struck down Texas’s voter ID law after a trial on the merits, ruling for voters in both cases. So while voters in North Carolina and Ohio face more burdensome voter restrictions, voters in Wisconsin and Texas will not be disenfranchised by unconstitutional discriminatory photo ID requirements in November . Here’s what happened in each state. In the two states where voter disenfranchisement will continue, same-day voter registration was rolled back. Last week the Court stayed the 6 th Circuit order and allowed Ohio’s cuts to early voting to...