USM professor says SCOTUS voting ruling is a disappointment
By: Margaret Ann Morgan
HATTIESBURG, MS - The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is unconstitutional.
The 5-4 ruling now leaves Congress with the task of creating a new way to determine which states and localities require close federal monitoring of elections. This decision comes after Congress passed a law in 2006 that the justices say relies on 40-year-old data that does not reflect racial progress and changes in today's society.
USM history professor Kevin Greene says this ruling is a disappointment to those who fought for their right to vote prior to the 1960s and could be a step back for equality at the polls in Mississippi.
"Right now, Mississippi has pretty limited voter identification laws," said Greene. But, he says that with this ruling, he sees the state getting one step closer to requiring identification at the polls. "Our recent mayoral election has given fuel to that argument," he said.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann released a statement saying "this chapter is closed" for Mississippi in the fight to determine its own voting processes. "The United States Supreme Court placed Mississippi on equal footing with every other state," said Hosemann. "The Court's decision removes requirements for Mississippi to travel through the expensive and time consuming Federal application process for any change to state, county or municipal voting law."