Monday, June 22, 2009

A Question About the Voting Rights

You may have read about the Supremes' decision on the Voting Rights Act:

The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to rule on the constitutionality of part of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act which sought to protect minorities in states with a history of racial discrimination.

The nation's top court instead ruled on a more narrow constitutional question, deciding that political subdivisions within a state can apply to be exempted from the Act.

I was listening to the public radio earlier today and caught a program on this. One of the callers to the program asked a question about what legislation stops states (and not just states with "a history of racial discrimination") from, say, assigning too few voting machines to predominantly minority residential areas. The experts on the program seemed to think that there's nothing at all to stop this! So Indian Reservations, for instance, could be provided with few and faulty machines, and so could predominantly African-American residential areas! Unless state laws forbid this, I guess.

This sounds like a Big Problem to me.