Q. We’ve elected an African-American president – twice. Isn’t that proof that voter discrimination is dead and that we no longer need a national Voting Rights Act?
A. Not at all. The growth of minority representation in Congress, our states and localities is a testament to the value of the Voting Rights Act in combating discrimination. Within days of the Supreme Court's 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, gutting a major portion of the act, at least six states moved ahead with plans to erect new barriers to voting that would have a disproportionate impact on minority voters. A new Voting Rights Act is vital to deterring such abuses.
Q. I need a valid ID when I cash a check or apply for a loan. What’s wrong with an ID requirement for registering and voting?
A. Studies indicate up to 11 percent of voters do not have the government-issued photo IDs that many states now demand. The percentage is higher for seniors, minorities, the disabled, the poor and students. Even states that provide free IDs sometimes refuse to issue them until the voter provides other proof of citizenship, like a birth certificate, that can cost $25 or more to obtain.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965, U.S. Department of Justice
Got ID, Helping Americans Get Voter Identification, Common Cause and Demos