In 1965, the Voting Rights Act passed and gave hundreds of thousands of Americans a chance to vote. It also put a spotlight on the obstacles put in place to keep people from the polls.
Voter suppression is nothing new, but it has evolved in the years since then. More recently we’ve seen gerrymandering efforts, intimidation through stricter voter ID requirements and other tactics used to suppress the voices of many Americans.
To talk about all of these issues, Detroit Today Stephen Henderson is joined by Gilda Daniels, who served as Deputy Chief in the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and has more than two decades of voting rights experience. She’s the author of a book that takes a closer look at systematic voter disenfranchisement, “Uncounted: The Crisis of Voter Suppression in the United States.”
“Practices to eliminate the black vote existed for about 100 years,” Daniels says. “President Barack Obama said it was the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that got him elected.”
The two drive into how their ancestors had to navigate life as African Americans living in the South before the Voting Rights Act and other Civil Rights protections were enacted. Daniels notes that although African Americans now have the freedom to vote, people of color, namely, immigrants of color, are now a target of voting suppression efforts.
“If we want people to vote, then why are we making it so hard?” asks Daniels.