After a Supreme Court decision weakening the Voting Rights Act, Alabama passed a strict voter identification law, notes Slate’s Jamelle Bouie. The law at one point led to the closing of the offices that issue driver’s licenses in every county where more than 75 percent of registered voters were black. Driver’s licenses are, of course, the main form of voter identification.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that 2013 opinion, and Tom Perriello, the Democratic activist, wrote yesterday on Twitter: “I imagine Justice Roberts is appalled by Roy Moore, but he may well have cast the most important vote to get him elected. The new AL voter suppression laws are a direct result of his decision to gut the VRA and perhaps pave Moore’s path to the Senate.”
An academic study suggests that the laws implemented since the Supreme Court decision have already reduced voter turnout in racially diverse parts of Alabama, Scott Douglas, the executive director of Greater Birmingham Ministries, explains in a Times op-ed.
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Alabama also denies the vote to many people previously convicted of felonies (although the state has at least made progress on this issue).
In The Atlantic, Vann R. Newkirk II puts the voting obstacles into historical perspective. “Voting has always been burdensome for black people in Alabama,” he writes.
Newkirk adds: “Early voting, which has been a key factor for other states in increasing black turnout, is not permitted in Alabama. The state also doesn’t have no-fault absentee voting, preregistration for teens, or same-day registration. In all, it’s harder to vote in Alabama than just about anywhere else, a dynamic that should tend toward cooling the turnout of people who’ve only been allowed to vote in the state for 50 years.”
Terrorism. The unsuccessful attack in New York yesterday is further evidence that American counterterrorism efforts are working, Josh Barro of Business Insider writes:
“Our government has disrupted and infiltrated terror networks that would seek to plan attacks in the United States. Would-be terrorists have been left to work alone or, occasionally, with close relatives they can trust not to be FBI informants.”
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The G.O.P. tax plan. Axios had the most succinct summary of the day’s events: “The Treasury finally released its analysis of the tax plan today. It’s one page long and acknowledges that the plan will not pay for itself.”
Jeanne Sahadi of CNN Money explained: “Treasury issues spare 1-page memo claiming — w/o showing real analysis — that GOP tax plan can pay for itself. Experts call it a ‘faux’ effort & not one ‘that could withstand peer review.’ ”
And Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post thinks that Senator Susan Collins, the Maine Republican, is fooling herself if she believes her proposed fixes to the tax plan will really undo the damage it would cause health care.
My column yesterday focused on the way Collins is supporting a policy that will ultimately lead to Medicare cuts; Rubin emphasizes a different problem: the way the tax plan will hurt health insurance markets in the short term.
The full Opinion report from The Times follows.