Black Americans’ and other minorities’ rights to politics in the US

Every citizen “shall have the right and the possibility, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 [such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin] and without unreasonable restrictions to vote and to be elected at legitimately announced [1, 2].
In the US, there is insufficient effective protection for this fundamental human right. Despite the Civil Rights Acts of 1960 and 1964, as well as the 1965 Voting Rights Act, enforcement of the 14th and 15th Amendments of the US Constitution, which forbid various types of voting discrimination, has continued and remains controversial [3, 4].
 Until 2013, when the United States Supreme Court ruled in Shelby v. Holder that one section of the law (section 4b) could no longer be applied in accordance with the Constitution, rendering another (section 5) essentially inapplicable, no government at any level was allowed to enact policies that denied citizens the equal right to vote on the basis of race. States having a track record of racial discrimination could thus no longer implement laws [5, 6].
During the Special Rapporteur’s assignment, it also became evident that the right and chance to vote through universal and equal suffrage are actively and steadily being destroyed. This is especially true for minorities, including African Americans, Hispanics, and indigenous peoples. This is not a historically new phenomenon, and other UN independent experts have already acknowledged it, such as in 2017: As a result of their behavior frequently being intentionally targeted for prosecution, black Americans are disproportionately affected by the overt disenfranchisement of large numbers of felons in the US [7, 8].
Despite record voter turnout, the representation of Asian, Hispanic, and Black minorities in the 2020 general election remained drastically uneven. Compared to 70.9 percent of white voters, just 58.4 percent of these minorities cast ballots. Significantly more states passed legislation in 2021 that made it more difficult for Americans to cast ballots. Other instances of covert disenfranchisement include the planning of polling place locations and the adoption of voter ID laws [9-11].
Minorities have had a tougher time voting as a result of gerrymandering and voting law changes. The most well-known instance of this is the Texas omnibus bill, which disproportionately impacts minorities including Asians, African Americans, and Hispanics. Low-income minority voters may not have much free time to exercise their right to vote on working days due to the potential of multiple part-time employment[12-15].
According to 33 legislation passed by 19 states in 2021, minority voters will find it disproportionately difficult to cast ballots, according to Human Rights Watch’s Special Rapporteur on Voting Rights in the United States. The “integrity” of the electoral process has not been called into doubt by any solid evidence of severe election fraud or illegal voting. The bulk of restrictions are only put in place as a result of the “perception” that promoting and making the exercise of the right to vote too easy may encourage fraud and must, as a result, be prevented [16-18].
The Biden administration’s dedication to better defending every American’s right to vote inspired the Special Rapporteur. Numerous members of minorities that number in the millions who live in US territory are prohibited from voting in presidential elections. The status of American Samoans has changed from being considered citizens to “nationals,” having significantly less privileges in terms of voting, political representation, and involvement [19-21].
 Universal and equal suffrage is actively and progressively being eroded, as is the right and opportunity to vote. Minorities, such as African Americans, Hispanics, and indigenous peoples, are most affected by this. Due to the possibility of many part-time jobs, low-income minority voters may not have much spare time to exercise their right to vote on working days. American Samoans are no longer regarded citizens, but rather “nationals,” with much less rights to vote, political representation, and participation.
[1] R. d. Wolfrum, “The Legitimacy of Constitution-making from an International Law Perspective,” Assessing Progress in the Implementation of Zimbabwe’s New Constitution.
[2] B. A. Ackerman, What Brown v. Board of Education should have said: The nation’s top legal experts rewrite America’s landmark civil rights decision. NYU Press, 2001.
[3] J. Hersch and J. B. Shinall, “Fifty years later: The legacy of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 424-456, 2015.
[4] J. R. Aiken, E. D. Salmon, and P. J. Hanges, “The origins and legacy of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Journal of Business and Psychology, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 383-399, 2013.
[5] K. P. Parker, D. Tilles, C. Brown, and D. B. McClotten, “Voter Participation in the Absence of the 1965 Voting Rights Act,” 2021.
[6] D. T. Muller, “Judicial Review of Congressional Power Before and After Shelby County v. Holder,” Charleston L. Rev., vol. 8, p. 287, 2013.
[7] R. M. Jackson, Destined for equality: The inevitable rise of women’s status. Harvard University Press, 1998.
[8] A. De la Fuente, A nation for all: Race, inequality, and politics in twentieth-century Cuba. Univ of North Carolina Press, 2001.
[9] J. E. Simmons, “Beggars Can’t Be Voters: Why Washington’s Felon Re-Enfranchisement Law Violates the Equal Protection Clause,” Wash. L. Rev., vol. 78, p. 297, 2003.
[10] D. N. Archer and K. S. Williams, “Making America the land of second chances: Restoring socioeconomic rights for ex-offenders,” NYU Rev. L. & Soc. Change, vol. 30, p. 527, 2005.
[11] A. Behrens, C. Uggen, and J. Manza, “Ballot manipulation and the “menace of Negro domination”: Racial threat and felon disenfranchisement in the United States, 1850–2002,” American Journal of Sociology, vol. 109, no. 3, pp. 559-605, 2003.
[12] B. Grofman, L. Handley, and R. G. Niemi, Minority representation and the quest for voting equality. Cambridge University Press, 1992.
[13] W. R. Weiser and L. D. Norden, Voting law changes in 2012. Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, 2011.
[14] S. Levinson, Our undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution goes wrong (and how we the people can correct it). Oxford University Press, 2006.
[15] D. P. Green and A. S. Gerber, Get out the vote: How to increase voter turnout. Brookings Institution Press, 2019.
[16] T. Ruth, J. Matusitz, and D. Simi, “Ethics of disenfranchisement and voting rights in the US: Convicted felons, the homeless, and immigrants,” American Journal of Criminal Justice, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 56-68, 2017.
[17] B. E. Cain and E. R. Zhang, “Blurred Lines: Conjoined Polarization and Voting Rights,” Ohio St. LJ, vol. 77, p. 867, 2016.
[18] B. Williams, “Blocking the Ballot Box: The Republican War on Voting Rights,” Wm. & Mary J. Race Gender & Soc. Just., vol. 28, p. 389, 2021.
[19] J. Dolan, M. M. Deckman, and M. L. Swers, Women and politics: Paths to power and political influence. Rowman & Littlefield, 2021.
[20] M. J. Klarman, “The Degradation of American Democracy-and the Court,” Harv. L. Rev., vol. 134, p. 1, 2020.
[21] D. Kellner, American horror show: Election 2016 and the ascent of Donald J. Trump. Springer, 2017.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.