Just three months ago, a violent mob overran our country’s Capitol to rebel against Joe Biden’s certification as the 2020 presidential election winner. Many of the rioters carried signs that read “Stop the Steal” – a reflection of the lies that President Donald Trump and his team were promoting about electoral fraud. Today, many elected officials use the same pretext to dismantle the voting rights won during the civil rights movement.

As many Republican officials continue to tell lies about the last election, they are working in state legislatures across the country to create the conditions under which they can suppress enough votes to win future elections. Just as President Trump has targeted voters in mostly black cities like Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, these lawmakers are based on the old white supremacy game book that says: If you can’t win fair and fair, then suppress them Poll.

In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp has just signed a bill that introduces many obstacles to voting, including reducing the number of ballot boxes, shrinking the early voting window, adding additional photo ID requirements, and bypassing the work of the county by state officials Election officials when they don’t like the results they see. In fact, Georgia law goes so far that it is illegal for outside groups to give water or food to long-line voters.

“We are currently witnessing a massive and fearless attack on the right to vote unlike anything we have seen since the Jim Crow era,” said Democrat Gloria Butler, a Georgia Senate Democrat, of the bill.

Unfortunately, Georgia is not alone in its attack on democracy. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, “On March 24th, lawmakers passed 361 restrictive bills in 47 states.”

These bills follow on from the 2013 Shelby County Supreme Court ruling against Holder, which found that state and local governments with a history of discrimination are no longer required to advance changes to voting laws and procedures with the federal government to clarify.

“Today’s coverage is based on decades of data and extinguished practices,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in his 5-4 ruling for the court. “Racial differences in these numbers were convincing evidence that justified the remedy against the preliminary clarification and the coverage formula. There is no longer such inequality. “

However, the recent spate of voter suppression bills is a powerful reminder that voter registration and turnout in these states has risen dramatically in the years since the electoral law was passed due to this pre-clearance. It is no accident that the day after the Shelby ruling, North Carolina lawmakers began work on a voter suppression bill that the United States Court of Appeals would later remove, stating that the provisions “African Americans with nearly address surgical precision “.

Indeed, the oppression of the electorate for the party and the oppression of the race by the electorate are closely related. For example, in 2020 The Guardian found that growing black and Latin American or Hispanic neighborhoods in Texas had most polling stations closed.

This year the Supreme Court will decide another important case that will determine the future of the Voting Rights Act. This case revolves around Section 2 of the Act, which expressly prohibits any electoral law that “leads to the denial or restriction of a United States citizen’s right to vote based on race or color”. This is important as it draws attention to different outcomes regardless of the alleged intent of the legislation. Section 2 provides safeguards so that even when unscrupulous lawmakers use the pretext of electoral fraud, their suppression efforts can be challenged. If the court rules against Section 2, it will further encourage efforts to suppress voters like the Georgia Bill.

The United States is meant to be a bastion of political freedom and democratic participation. Our foreign policy explicitly claims to promote these values ​​abroad. But if we suppress the vote at home, what does that say about the values ​​we are supposed to represent? Fifty-six years after the voting law was passed to counter the systemic repression enshrined in the Jim Crow regime, we are right back in the fight to ensure that every American has the opportunity to help shape the future of the nation.

It’s time to stop the real theft. We need new federal laws that defend the right to vote against the intrusion of unscrupulous lawmakers. And we also need the Supreme Court to do its job in defending minority rights against the tyranny of white supremacy and systemic racism.