Free At Last! Say Southern Republicans

Despite some vague talk this morning that no one should assume congressional Republicans won’t leap to the challenge of “fixing” Sections 4 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act to reinstate the preclearance requirement, I’ve yet to see any leaping so far from the GOP in Washington.

But as Esquire’s Charles Pierce astutely notes, there’s plenty of leaping–for joy!–from Republicans in southern states who now feel liberated to do whatever they want in “protecting” their elections from those people who don’t have the proper picture IDs or won’t stand in line forever to cast their ballots. Pierce notes news stories in no less than five VRA states–Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas–of local Republicans declaring “full steam ahead” for voting restrictions or other declarations of independence from the feds.

Yeah, the Justice Department and voting rights advocates better get their act together on the use of Section 2 to challenge state practices. That may be the only thing standing between southern Republicans and a white riot of new voter suppression activities.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.