Inconsistencies in elections are creating an air of mistrust and skepticism regarding the ideals of fellow American citizens, and the voting process. Although voting appears antiquated, one fact may give cause to reconsideration. In just one 6 year period, states made 262 requests to change local voting laws, then later altered or withdrew them after they were vetted for discrimination under section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Furthermore this section is the same piece of legislation determined obsolete according to Supreme Court justice chief John Roberts in the 2013 Supreme Court case, Shelby County v. Holder. He argued that states with a historical legacy of racism no longer required federal oversight when attempting to change local voting laws. “The country has changed”, Roberts stated. Although the new law does contain a provision to place jurisdictions under “pre-clearance”, or federal oversight if they demonstrate intentional discrimination.
How New Voting Laws Affect Americans
Additional Components of the Political Process
Voting is only one aspect of the political process when considering how elections are decided. At the state level, nationwide, the popular vote is not a determining factor in electing legislative seats. The following are two political processes that influence citizen representation, and elections:
- Reapportionment: The census recalculates the US. population every 10 years. States use this data to determine the number of districts of each state, which determines the number of electors in each state, (also called the congressional delegation). This is subsequently the number of representatives of that state in the house and senate combined. The US. constitution assigns two congressional houses per state. The first, the senate, is composed of two representatives from each state. The second, is the house of representatives, (which consists of 435 representatives). This number is distributed among the states, based on their recorded populations.
- Redistricting: After states receive the data on the number of districts per state, it is their task to draw the boundaries of the districts. This process is called redistricting.
Corruption Controls Elections: Gerrymandering
US Census Factors into Population Distortion
Cooper, Ryan. 11/07/2016. “This is the First Election Without the Full Voting Rights Act – and it’s Already a Disaster”. The Week. [Http://theweek.com/articles/659599/first-election-without-full-voting-rights-act-already-disaster].; the Leadership Conference. [Http://www.Civilrights.org].; Skerry, Peter. 03/2000. “Counting on the Census?” Brookings Institution. Policy Brief. PDF.; Morello, Carol. 4/15/2010. “Maryland Changes how Prisoners are Counted in Census”. Washington Post. [Http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/14/AR2010041404600.html].
Eve C. 06/25/2017. photo and illustration. “Martin Luther King Jr.”