Bob Fitrakis

“Voting Rights Act is Challenged as Cure the South Has Outgrown” cries the New York Times front page headline from February 18, 2013. In my diagnosis, not only does the South remain sick while retaining a race and class based system of voter suppression, the rest of the nation including my home state of Ohio is infected with the same illness.

In 1965, when the Voting Rights Act was passed, the United States for the first time met the bare minimal standard for a democracy. For the first time, we would have two or more parties, the adult population including black Americans would be allowed to vote, and the votes would be fairly counted thanks to federal oversight.

Beginning with George W. Bush’s fraudulent election of 2000, the ugliness known as the Jim Crow South reared its head in the battleground states including Ohio. The blatant purges of poor, black and elderly likely-Democratic voters was well documented by BBC reporter Greg Palast. The Free Press documented the largest disenfranchisement of voters since 1965 by Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell during the 2004 presidential election.

Instead of acting like the South is “cured,” we should admit that our whole political process is contaminated and only the inoculation of a new Voting Rights Act can save the last remnants of U.S. democracy.