A 2013 Supreme Court ruling forever changed Americans' voting rights — and experts warn it could help decide this year's elections

Business Insider,  November 7, 2017

Voting rights activists say the landmark 2013 Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court decision — which struck down parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) and helped pave the way for Virginia's voter ID law — is perhaps the most blameworthy culprit.

"We anticipate that there will be voters who are unable to vote because of the voter ID law and voters who stay home because of the voter ID law. And they will primarily be African-Americans and Latinos," Deuel Ross, a lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), told Business Insider. ...

Just hours after the ruling, Texas officials, for example, said they would begin enforcing a strict photo ID law that was previously found to be discriminatory against black and Hispanic voters. Officials in Mississippi, Virginia, and North Carolina made similar moves.

Alabama made an even more aggressive push, implementing the voter ID law that [Alabama Secretary of State John] Merrill now supports. The state's Republican-dominated legislature passed the measure in 2011, and was finally able to enforce it in 2014 after the Shelby ruling. …

Turnout in minority communities fell 4.1 points more in Alabama than in similar states around the country, according to [a] study [by a professor at the University of California, San Diego].

Researchers in other states, including Wisconsin and Texas, have also found voter ID laws make it harder for minorities to vote. In 2016, 300,000 eligible voters in Wisconsin lacked valid state photo IDs before the election.

By Brennan Weiss

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