Seven Years after Shelby County V Holder
With the 2020 elections quickly approaching, often lost in the background are all the events that have led us to where we are. You may have read about voters having issues with long lines at polling places, being unregistered without their knowledge, having to navigate strict voter ID requirements, and many others recently. Lost in all this coverage has been the connection to the Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act through the Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013. In the seven years since this decision, which effectively ended the provision of "preclearance," many states that previously needed federal approval for changes to their voting systems have implemented policies to make it harder to vote for people of color. I hope that through this analysis of the events leading to Shelby County v. Holder, the negative impacts since, and the potential policy solution currently in the United States Senate, we will be reminded of what exactly is at stake in this election. The removal of preclearance has had monumental impacts already, and should they continue down this path, we will undo decades of civil rights activism and advocacy.
Umair Tarbhai, MA, MSW
Graduate Research Assistant
University of Illinois, Chicago
Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement