The Fraud of 'Voter Fraud'

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Jeffrey Toobin takes a look at the Attorney General's fight with South Carolina's voting laws:


This is a chance for Holder to define his legacy as Attorney General--as something more than the guy who tried, and failed, to have Guantánamo Bay detainees tried in federal court in New York. There is a purity, a simplicity, about the voting-rights fight that is sadly absent from many modern civil-rights battles. This is not about special privileges, or quotas, or even complex mathematical formulae. It's about a basic right of American citizenship, which is being taken from large numbers of people for the most cynical of reasons. The laws are, quite literally, indefensible--so Holder ought to make the states that have them try to defend them. That would be a legacy that would make any Attorney General, and any American, proud. 

I'm disappointed in how Holder has handled the drug war, but on this I agree. Actual evidence of "voter fraud" is scant to nonexistent. It's worth remembering that blacks weren't disenfranchised through a literal effort of barring blacks from voting booths (like the water-fountains or restrooms,)  but through technicalities--grandfather clauses, literacy tests, property requirements etc--all of which were marshaled against the scourge of the "unqualified voter."
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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