Voting is a right not ‘entitlement’

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MARC MORIAL

 

(NNPA)—“No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”—Voting Rights Act of 1965
During recent Supreme Court oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, Justice Antonin Scalia called a key part of the Voting Rights Act—Section 5—a “racial entitlement.” Section 5 requires that the Justice Department or a federal court “pre-clear” any changes made to voting procedures by covered jurisdictions to ensure they do not “deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color.”
This act was established to fix a broken system, and it remains relevant today. As long as blatant voter suppression measures such as voter ID laws and district gerrymandering are being used to keep certain groups from the polls, the Voting Rights Act—in its entirety—remains necessary. And to clear up any confusion that Justice Scalia has or anyone who found merit in his argument: Voting “rights” are indeed that—a right guaranteed to every citizen of the United States. They are not a special privilege. They are not a gift. And they certainly don’t constitute a “racial entitlement.”

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