PITTSBURGH, June 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today criticized the United States Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder and said that the court has cleared the way for states to launch anti-democratic voter suppression and redistricting schemes not seen in this country since Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The legislation effectively curbed widespread, systemic disenfranchisement of African Americans and other minorities throughout most of the last half-century by requiring federal approval for state and local governments to change election laws or procedures.
USW International President Leo W. Gerard condemned the radical, right-wing majority court for overturning the landmark legislation, designed to protect citizens in states and localities with a history of suppressing minority votes.
"By eviscerating the Voting Rights Act, which was approved overwhelmingly in the U.S. House and unanimously in the Senate, the Supreme Court has at once usurped Congress and set back civil rights 50 years," Gerard said. "More Americans than ever are now at risk of being disenfranchised as a result of this gross injustice and our democracy is immediately weakened."
USW International Vice President Fred Redmond said that the decision will enable states to thwart would-be voters by implementing expensive, unnecessary voter identification programs and by redistricting maps to minimize or marginalize minority votes.
"Over the past several years, the USW has been working with the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups against voter identification laws and other tactics intended to suppress voting," Redmond said. "Our movement is growing and mobilized, and we will not allow our country to return to the days of Jim Crow, literacy tests and poll taxes."
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.
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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)