November 13, 2009

"'Post-Racial' America? - A Voting Rights Report"

The NAACP LDF has issued this press release about this new report. From the press release:

    First, "Post-Racial" America? Not Yet examines the "post-racial" argument made in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder (MUD), a recent unsuccessful constitutional challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a core provision that guards against voting discrimination where it has been most severe. In MUD, the plaintiff argued that the election of President Obama rendered Section 5 no longer necessary. This report contrasts the plaintiff's argument with the more than 16,000-page record of ongoing voting discrimination considered by Congress when it voted to renew Section 5 in 2006.

    Second, the report demonstrates how President Obama's victory provides important evidence of great progress, while also illustrating the ongoing salience of race in American democracy. Exit polls from the 2008 Presidential Election show that a record 95 percent of African Americans, 67 percent of Latinos, and 62 percent of Asian Americans voted for President Obama nationally, compared to only 43 percent of white voters -- the only racial group that did not cast a majority of votes for President Obama.

I look forward to reading this report. It is very interesting that the press release refers to NAMUDNO as an unsuccessful constitutional challenge to section 5. Though the constitutional argument failed, the ridiculously weak statutory argument succeeded, and the opinion is chock full of dicta that should make voting rights advocates cringe. Perhaps this is another example of winning by losing, or at least marketing a loss as a win.

Posted by Rick Hasen at November 13, 2009 11:40 AM