Congressional Democrats are looking to put teeth back in the Voting Rights Act, six years after the Supreme Court gutted a key enforcement provision through its ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. Members of the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the issue at Houston’s Texas Southern University on Friday.
Much of the testimony focused on how the state’s Voter ID law discourages minorities from voting.
“What’s occurring in voter identification is really criminal in our state,” said Gary Bledsoe, president of the Texas NAACP. “Because right here in Harris County, we had so much bellicosity coming from public officials threatening to prosecute individuals wrongfully if they made a mistake on filing an affidavit saying that they were not able to obtain an identification.” That may have been a reference to former Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart, who made such suggestions ahead of the 2016 and 2018 elections.
Other witnesses testified to recent efforts to suppress minority voting by local governments, including the City of Pasadena and Waller County.