“Less than 48 hours after the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, six of the nine states that had been covered in their entirety under the law’s “preclearance” formula have already taken steps toward restricting voting.” Joseph Diebold, ThinkProgress, 6/27/13
In the fragile infrastructure of voting rights the devil is inexorably mucking in the details. The devil of voter suppression is on the prowl not only in those immediately affected states but also throughout the nation, including sacrosanct Minnesota.
And so we gird our loins for the post-Supreme Court blow to the Voting Rights Act. The pattern of pernicious tactics we saw in the 2012 election is unleashed. The well-orchestrated and funded drive to suppress the hard-won rights of American citizens marches on its swift and steady course to thwart the will of the people.
An early challenge – and opportunity – is the vigorous campaign to elect a new Secretary of State. Mark Ritchie who has been unswerving in his commitment to fair and free elections, has announced he will not run again for this complex and powerful position. The list of announced candidates suggests just how important the office is.
In fact, a critical challenge to voters is to understand the authority of the Minnesota Secretary of State position. (http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=4) Management of elections is just one of a roster of responsibilities of the office. Still there are countless ways the elections process for which the Secretary of State is responsible can be manipulated intentionally or by benign neglect.
As in every aspect of government, technology is shaping the electoral process. Suppressors, working in concert state to state, would inhibit the process under the devilish guise of efficiency or security. Voters need to pay attention to the ways in which such pernicious Ideas flow with alacrity and momentum through the states.
Minnesotans are justifiably proud of having trounced the Voter ID Amendment to the State Constitution. Now, complacency is the enemy of the people. The ID requirement was just one arrow in the quiver of the determined vote suppressors.