Today, the Voting Rights Act turns 47 years old. The 1965 law was passed to put an end to Jim Crow-era laws that, along with intimidation and violence, disenfranchised black Americans in the South. Even when black southerners were able to register to vote, they were often required to pass literacy tests, recite the preamble of the Constitution from memory, and pay poll taxes. The Voting Rights Act gave the federal government the tools to prevent discriminatory voting practices passed by the states and guarantee the right to vote for all eligible voters.
Well, if you haven't heard already, the Department of Justice moved on December 23 to block South Carolina's new voter ID law. This is great news, and there's been plenty of coverage of the DoJ's decision and the reactions it generated, here are a few pieces you might want to check out: