Voting Rights
Voting Rights

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 is a product of aftermath of the Civil Rights Movements that sought to protect the rights of all citizens irrespective of their color or race. This Act was enacted primarily to rule out the states together with their political subdivisions from perpetuation iniquitous qualifications and prerequisites to voting. These prohibitions were based on color, race, and membership of a minority group in America that denied some of the United States’ citizens their right to vote. The Act was enacted as a response to the years of voting bigotry that saw a number of American citizens deprived of their rights to vote. Per se, the act proscribed poll taxes and literacy tests that were used in a bid to ascertain the eligibility of any citizen for qualifications as a voter. The enactment served as a source of freedom for a number of African American, who for over a century faced perpetual intimidation, harassment, and assault in their endeavors to access their voting rights as citizens of America. The passing of this act only mandated the availability of a citizens’ name in the electoral list of voters, which, of course, was preceded by one’s citizenship of America. As such, the law courts provided the stern measures against any form of impediment that would, in one way or another, inconvenience one from exercising his or her voting right.

The objective of the act was to erase all unreasonable impediments of all American citizens, irrespective of their color and race, from accessing their voting rights. This act undeniably saw the eradication of these barriers allowing most of the American citizens to register and to become eligible to take part in any voting exercise, as and when available. Most southern parts of America, such as Alabama, registered quite significant number of African American voters, who had faced a long unfavorable time being locked out of their voting rights. Apparently, by 1970, over sixty percent of African American citizens in America had successfully registered as voters, and had freely participated in elections without any hindrance or discrimination. This move encouraged the introduction of other acts that advocated the rights of African Americans that saw the abolishment of various unreasonable barricades that curtailed the rights of the American citizens.

As time went by, more and more people were registered as voters; thus, bringing to an end a century of the plight of African Americans, who suffered at the cost of their color and race. Consequently, some African Americans were vote for in order to take up certain positions and assume duties and responsibilities in public offices - a sign that proved the success of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 courtesy of Martin Luther King and his unrelenting advocacy. This came with a failure among the white racists, who had instigated numerous campaigns refuting any effort to have African Americans register as voters. Indeed, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 acted as a wakeup call for America to embrace freedom and to preach peace, even after the Vietnam War that had left many in devastation.

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 has been effective and followed without question until June, 25, 2013, when the decision involving Shelby County v. Holder over some particular provisions was made. The provisions under challenge were Section 5 and Section 4(b), as stipulated in the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. Section 5 of the Act stated that no eligible district was allowed to exercise any alteration to their election laws and procedures before securing an official permission from either the federal District Court or from the U.S. Department of Justice. On the other hand, Section 4(b) of the Act defines eligible districts as those districts, where the voting test was in effect until November 1, 1964, and less than fifty percent of voter turnout during the 1964 presidential election.

The Shelby County challenged the aforementioned sections as being unconstitutional and imposing unnecessary sanction on their implementation. The decision, which was backed by a majority of a total number of 5 votes against 4 votes, found these sections to be unconstitutional. Announcing the opinion passed by the majority, the Chief Justice reiterated that indeed, Sections 5 and 4(b) were rather retrogressive and had no chance in the contemporary American society whatsoever. Apparently, quite a number of people have acknowledged the decision opining that it was necessary to give all districts an equal opportunity to change their voting laws in a bid to accommodate appropriate measures for the benefit of all American citizens. Certainly, the decision is an appropriate measure that provides various states that have never had the right to alter their voting laws in their best interest, so as to serve the people and to grant them an opportunity to enjoy their voting rights.

The justification of the Supreme Court with regards to the decision lies on the court’s assertion that the provisions under Section 5 and 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 do not hold any significant impact on Shelby County given the existing situations, as far as the voting law is concerned. This decision will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the voting laws, as applied in the Southern States, in the sense that the blatant discrimination against some voters in these states will be put to an end, and once again, citizens will have an opportunity to enjoy their voting rights. The case carries a crucial nexus with the civil rights as presented in the discussion in chapter five of the textbook in that they both have the same theme of impartiality. This is evident in the struggle to end any form of racial discrimination for the sake of justice and prosperity in the United States of America. The advocacies revolve around the elimination of the view of race, and embrace equality in the struggle of delivering freedom for all American citizens, irrespective of their color, race, and origin.

Race in the U.S. is a very sophisticated issue in the various contexts, as far as the fact that U.S. is a multicultural nation is concerned. Race has for decades been used to define opportunities available among the citizens of the United States of America. It is, indeed, not a new topic in most of the conversations among the American citizens, because of the fact that people come from different ethnical backgrounds with different colors defined by their race. Racism is incontrovertibly a big problem in the contemporary American society, despite the years of struggle to make the issue a past tense in most of legal endeavors.

The racism problem in America is very evident in a lot of racial divisions in America what is evident from interview writing help. For instance, the problem of providing security and ensuring the safety of all American citizen is under question regarding the integrity of the whole issue. The case of the shooting of Oscar Grant, a black man, who was shot dead by the BART police, still remains a question without an answer over racial division and the racial problem as a whole. Officer Mehserle shot Grant from the back, on the claim that Grant was reaching for a rifle in order to shoot the officer, a claim that was refuted from a video footage that sparked a lot of reaction from the black community on the opinion that the shooting was indisputably of racial inclination. The following morning, Grant was pronounced dead, and riots that were accompanied by a loss of millions of looted and destroyed valuables in Oakland. The court found Mehserle guilty of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to two years in a separate jail for his crime.

In a separate incident, a case depicting racial division involves a fatal shooting of Martin, a young African American high school student. Martin was shot dead by Zimmerman, 28-years-old Caucasian, at Sanford with claims of self-defense, even though it turned out that Martin did not have any weapon on him. Surprisingly, Zimmerman was released hours after his arrest on claims that the shooting was out of self-defense. This sparked a lot of riots among the black residents living in Sanford reiterating that the Sanford police department was handling the case of Martin’s shooting with no interest, simply because Martin was black. The riots called upon the black community living in Sanford to stand against the police’s reluctance in delivering justice and ensuring that security and safety of all Americans are assured, irrespective of their color.

These cases clearly depict instances of racial discrimination presenting numerous questions even from the police department in their endeavors to conduct truthful investigations. Martin’s shooting was later on established to be a case of racial motivation, whereby Zimmerman was accused of having shot Martin from the fact that he was black. The case involving Shelby County is unlikely to damage race relation, because of the fact that given the current situations, the decision regarding the case will end up perking up the relation among many races in the U.S. and will undauntedly help to reduce racism by significant margins.


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