Amplifier has launched a new series of art highlighting the need to renew and strengthen this essential protection against discrimination in voter registration and access. The Voting Rights Act was intended to guarantee the elimination of racial discrimination in voting, however in 2013 the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder removed the preclearance clause, allowing for jurisdictions with a history of passing discriminatory voting laws to no longer be subject to oversight when passing voting laws that impact minority voters.
That means that regions with a history of racial discrimination no longer have a federal oversight for their voting process. 2016 marked the first presidential election in 50 years without the protection of the preclearance clause, marked not by record breaking turnout, but by first time voter suppression laws in 15 states. The number of states with newly proposed voter restrictions is up to 31 in 2017.
These increasingly rigid laws and ever-shifting rules are making it particularly difficult for people of color, women, and millennials to take part in our democracy.