, 28 tweets, 14 min read Read on Twitter
1/ Today President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law on August 6, 1965, with MLK Jr present. In honor of this day I wanted to do a thread 🧵 about the #VRA54 and why #VoterSuppression cost us the White House in 2016 and could again in 2020. Buckle up!
2/Quick timeline:
✔️The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by Lincoln on January 1, 1863 (enslaved African Americans freed)
✔️Reconstruction begins 1863 to 1877
✔️14th Amendment ratified 1868.
✔️15th Amendment ratified 1870.
🚩White resentment is growing exponentially. #VRA54
3/15th Amendment gave Black men the right to vote. A record number of Black men were elected to Congress for the 1st time. Many white Southerns had (have) zero interest in Black people crafting laws so they started disinformation & voter suppression campaigns (sound familiar?)
3a/ The disinformation campaigns from white lawmakers came in the form of racist ideas, an attempt to undermine the
Black Congressman who were doing an exemplary job: they aided the formation of public schools, Equal Rights Leagues, etc. but I digress... history.com/topics/america…
4/ While the 15th amendment states no US citizen shall be denied their right to vote due to 'race, color...' White lawmakers figured out how to get around that Constitutional amendment by using 'racially neutral justifications' (read 'One Person, No Vote' by Dr. Anderson) #VRA54
5/ A few 'racially neutral' ways that racist White lawmakers were able to keep Black men and some poor whites (lawmakers didn't care much for them either) from voting after 1870 were:
✔️Poll Taxes (voting fees)
✔️Grandfather clauses
✔️Literary tests (below is an example)
#VRA54
6/ The "Grandfather Clause" permitted "registering anyone whose grandfather was qualified to vote before the Civil War." Of course, no black men had a grandfather who voted before the Civil War because they would've been enslaved. White racist law makers knew this.
7/These white lawmakers claimed that 'poll taxes', 'literary tests', and 'Grandfather clauses' were all for the purpose of bring 'integrity' to our elections when really it was about keeping Black men (Black women couldn't vote until 1965) from voting. Did it work? Oh my did it.
8/ "Mississippi cut the percentage of black voting-age men registered to vote from more than 90% during Reconstruction to less than 6% in 1892. These measures were copied by most of the other states in the South." crf-usa.org/black-history-… #VoterSuppression
9/ Racist white lawmakers after 1870 claimed they wanted 'election integrity'. Where have I heard that claim before?
I know!
From Kansas's Kris Kobach (KKK for short) Commission on Election Integrity for Trump; they literally gave a nod to the originators of voter suppression!
10/You see, Trump, George W. Bush, and Reagan before them have all followed the same Voter Suppression script for almost 150 years, but Trump has something they didn't have: Chief Justice John Roberts who gave the GOP a great gift: stabbing the #VRA in heart. So, what is the VRA?
11/The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is "a landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting."

"Wait?" You say, "Maya, doesn't the 15th and to some extent the 14th Amendment already do that?"

Yes, and no. I'll explain.
12/ The VRA needed to exist to enforce the 15th & 14th Amendments which in themselves couldn't stop states from discriminating against Black/POC voters (see above)by using racially neutral language or changing election rules willy-nilly claiming 'integrity'. The VRA changed that.
12b/ BTW, It took almost 100 years after the 15th Amendment was ratified to get the Voting Rights Act. Here is a timeline of Voting Rights in America. It would take the March on Selma for the VRA to be signed into law. #VRA54
13/ Remember, the purpose of Selma was for Voting Rights. Civil rights leaders like @repjohnlewis were sick and tired of being denied the right to vote and almost died for it. After Selma, President Johnson knew (after hesitating) he could finally push for the passage of VRA.
14/ With the passage of the VRA Black voter registration skyrocketed. Let's look at MS again: "Mississippi, where the percentage of eligible black voters registered ballooned from 7% in 1964 to 67% just five years later." Black men, & now women, were once again elected to office.
15/ So, how did Chief Justice John Roberts began to undo all of that?

"On June 25, 2013, the Court struck down Section 4(b) as unconstitutional". What does that mean? It's means the protections of the VRA became toothless.

politico.com/magazine/story…
16/ The VRA was able to enforce the 15th Amendment with this: "Coverage formula (4b) and preclearance (Section 5)"
The whole point of the coverage formula and the preclearance was to stop states BEFORE they could change election rules. What Chief Justice Roberts reason? #VRA54
17/ Chief Justice Roberts literally blamed his decisions to overturn the coverage formula on Obama's election:

“Our country has changed,” Roberts wrote in his opinion.

We elected Obama, Roberts reasoned, that proved we were post-racial. LOL, right? 🙄

thinkprogress.org/when-john-robe…
18/ 📢Attention: Pundits please read this sentence to yourselves several times: 2016 was the first Presidential Election without the FULL protections of the VRA since it passed in 1965.

Clinton didn't lose because of a 'lack' of enthusiasm, she lost because of #VoterSuppression.
19/ I know you're saying 'But Maya, I fall asleep every time someone says 'voter suppression'. I mean, how many votes were even suppressedzzzz?"

MILLIONS OF VOTES WERE SUPPRESSED.

Are you awake now? #VRA54
20/ Let's look at Georgia's @BrianKempGA who is an Olympic 🥇 level voter suppressor.
From "One Person, No Vote":
✔️732,000 voters said their registration status had been cancelled due to failure to vote
✔️591,548 were purged off the rolls
✔️40,000 "lost" voters registered
@BrianKempGA 21/ Clinton lost by small amounts in Voter ID states like Wisconsin: "Black voters were about 50% likelier than whites to lack these IDs because they were less likely to drive or to be able to afford the documents required to get a current ID."
#VRA54
motherjones.com/politics/2017/…
21/ Hillary Clinton lost by 22,748 votes in Wisconsin. Ari Berman reported for MotherJones that "as many as 45,000 people in Wisconsin were deterred from voting due to the state’s voter ID law.

45,000 votes suppressed. #VRA54 newrepublic.com/minutes/145387…
22/Let me wrap this up (because I could go on for hours) our 2020 Election will be affected by Voter Suppression because we still don't have the full protections of the VRA. Trump knows this, @senatemajldr leader know this, hell, they are COUNTING ON THIS. #VRA
@senatemajldr 23/While y'all are saying 'Kamala needs to do this...' 'Warren doesn't do this...' You know what the GOP is doing? They are (to quote a NC judge) removing black people and POC 'with surgical precision' from our voting rolls now. They have a 'county by county strategy' meaning:
24/The GOP are looking at EVERY COUNTY in the US to see just how many black people/POC they need to keep from voting. Yep, they are being that precise about it. So what do we do? I'll tell ya: The same thing, county by county, except we don't suppress, we enfranchise. #VRA54
25/Support established local and national #GOTV groups who help:
✔️Get people to the DMV to get their ID in Voter ID states
✔️Get people registered
✔️Canvass
✔️Get people to the polls
Here is a great list: movement.vote/groups

Keep your eyes on the prize folks. #VRA54
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