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Jim Crow, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Litigation before Election Day

Today’s NBC Politics blog, “Lots of litigating to go before voters cast their ballots,” highlighted Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech at the 103rd NAACP Convention and several court cases that can impact voters before and on Election Day in 2012--including Wisconsin’s latest voter protection victory yesterday. 

In five of the key states listed, President Obama garnered over 50 percent of the vote in 2008--including Pennsylvania and Florida, which together control 49 electoral votes.  Senator John McCain won Texas, home to 38 electoral votes; however, already subject to section five of the Voting Rights Act, the law could further suppress the growing and typically marginalized citizens in Texas.

In his speech to NAACP Convention attendees, Attorney General Eric Holder equated current tactics to suppress the vote with Jim Crow laws, expressing the disproportionate impact that restrictive legislation has on minority voters. Although Attorney General Holders’ remarks drew harsh criticism from opposition, data suggests that voter suppressive laws overwhelmingly target demographics that historically statistically vote Democrat.

A study released by the Brennan Center for Justice this week, “The Challenge of Obtaining Voter Identification,” found that 25 percent of voting-age African-Americans and 16 percent of voting-age Hispanics lack government photo identification.

Unlawful purges and felony disenfranchisement suppress the vote of thousands and millions of voters each election cycle. Florida’s recent and unlawful purge targets over 180,000 suspected non-citizens. Over 58 percent of those targeted are Hispanic and 14 percent are black. Due to felony disenfranchisement laws, nearly 6 million former offenders are disenfranchised and over 2.2 million are black.

Jim Crow laws were designed to restrict the rights of minority citizens across the country. Today, voter suppressive laws are doing just that.