NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

Give Us The Vote




Fifty years ago, the Voting Rights Act passed outlawing literacy tests and other measures that had prevented African-Americans from voting. After its passage, Congress amended the act five times to increase its scope. But in 2013, a Supreme Court decision blocked the act’s enforcement provision, which opened the door for states to pass new voting restrictions. Journalist Ari Berman says that many of the new restrictions discriminate against poor people, young people and people of color. “There’s a whole range of voting restrictions … [including] making it harder to register to vote; shutting down voter registration drives; eliminating same-day voter registration; cutting early voting; cutting back the hours and days for early voting; purging the voting rolls; requiring government-issued ID to cast a ballot,” Berman tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. In his book, Give us The Ballot, Berman recounts the struggle for voting rights after passage of the act. He also says that 2016 will usher in the first presidential election in 50 years that will occur without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. “In key swing states like North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia, new voting restrictions are in effect and could have a very big impact on the outcome of the 2016 election if they’re not blocked in court,” Berman says. MORE