The Fraud of 'Voter Fraud'

More

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."
Jump to comments
Presented by

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.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

In a series of candid video interviews, women talk about self-image, self-judgement, and what it means to love their bodies


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

From This Author

Just In