The Voting Rights Act
On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court swept away a key provision of this landmark civil rights law in Shelby County v. Holder. The Supreme Court effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was one of the towering legislative achievements of the civil rights movement. When it was first enacted, black voter registration stood at 6.4 percent in Mississippi, and the gap between black and white registration rates was more than 60 percentage points. Fraud by voters casting ballots illegally is a minuscule problem, but a potent political weapon. The decision had immediate consequences. Texas announced a voter identification law that had been blocked would go into effect immediately. Minority voters are more likely to lack a necessary voter ID than those who are in the majority.
Up to 25% of African-Americans in the United States who are of voting age lack the government-issued identification they need to vote. The same can be said for just 8% of people from Caucasian descent. Republicans consistently say restrictions on registering and voting are needed to combat election fraud, a view most prominently expressed in Trump’s widely derided statement, with no evidence, that millions of illegal voters cost him the popular vote in 2016. Studies regularly conclude that fraud is exceedingly rare.

“The old notion that somehow there are all these impostors out there, people not eligible to vote that are voting — it’s a lie,” said Thomas E. Mann, a resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. “But it’s what’s being used in the states now to impose increased qualifications and restrictions on voting.”