Voting is a right, not a privilege. Apparently some folks need a reminder every now and then. When the Voting Rights Act of 1965 became law, it solidified every American citizen's right to vote and participate in the electoral process. There were some that came up with creative schemes to block the votes of minorities, and today, we're seeing new tactics of the same old dirty tricks. As the population continues to diversify and the literal face of the nation changes, we see these renewed attempts at voter suppression such as Arizona's Prop 200. Requiring people to show proof of citizenship in addition to regular forms of voting identification, Arizona's Prop 200 was nothing more than an added burden to hinder individuals from voting. And on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered strong support for voter equality when it struck down Arizona's draconian law in a 7-2 ruling.
The 1993 National Voter Registration Act, also known as the Motor Voter Act, required state governments to allow for voter registration when a person applies for or renews his/her license, applies for social services or uses mail-in forms provided by each state's election commission. It is precisely this act that the Supreme Court said overruled Arizona's Prop 200. The Court was so adamant in its stance on this issue, that even conservative-leaning judges like Scalia voted against the Arizona legislation. We at National Action Network (NAN) applaud the Court's decision in Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. As an organization that has long fought against voter disenfranchisement, and pushed for greater federal government oversight of the election process, NAN welcomes this development.
Last Friday, I was in Phoenix, Arizona for a hearing in the case of Melendres v. Arpaio where a judge requested federal monitoring of the infamous Sheriff. Arpaio's vicious methods of racial profiling are a national disgrace, and all of us should welcome a court appointed monitor who will oversee the retraining of deputies, and more. Racial profiling is a thorn in the fabric of this nation if left unresolved. Whether it's against Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, immigrants or any other group, racial profiling cannot and will not ever be tolerated. We welcome the court monitor in this case as it is a step in the right direction against the blatant discriminatory acts of Sheriff Arpaio, and his so-called rule of law. The countless nameless, faceless activists who pushed back against his egregious behavior can take comfort in knowing that the tide is turning.
When Arizona's Gov. Jan Brewer was pushing for tough new immigration laws known as SB 1070, we organized and marched right in her state. Bringing together thousands from across the country to protest the outrageous attack on immigrant rights, we stood in unison with those who were watching their civil liberties being stripped away. Often, people will come up to me and say that these issues and more are not 'Black issues' and question why I am supporting them. My answer has and will remain the same: they are issues of justice, and justice denied to anyone of us, is justice delayed to us all.
One of the greatest honors we as Americans have is being to voice our opinions and our concerns in an open society. And one of the fundamental ways in which we do that is by electing those who we believe best represent our interests and hopes for the future. An attack on those rights is an attack on the very way in which we define ourselves. Let us praise Monday's Supreme Court ruling because nobody should be denied the right to vote, or face additional hurdles because of a strategic method to disenfranchise them. Just as no one should be racially profiled, no one should be racially blocked from the voting booth.
Based on these recent court rulings, I'm glad to see that the law agrees.
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