In an op-ed posted in The Root, LDF Deputy Director of Litigation Ryan Haygood, and former NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous look back on how voter suppression laws influenced the 2014 midterm elections:
On Nov. 4, 2014, in Eggleston, Va., a 93-year-old cancer patient named Virginia Whittaker arrived at her designated polling place after a doctor’s appointment. She produced her voter registration card, some form of which she had been using in elections for the past 72 years. This time, however, she was turned away because she lacked valid photo identification, which all voters are now required to show under a Virginia law passed in 2013.
Whittaker was one of the millions of voters subject to restrictive new voting laws that took effect this year. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s devastating 2013 decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder—which invalidated core protections of the Voting Rights Act—15 states launched an assault on voting rights in advance of the 2014 midterm elections. This week, we co-authored a report estimating the impact of these laws in 2014 in Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.