Review: Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America

Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America
Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A detailed, enlightening account of the struggle for voting rights in America.

I’d wondered about the inordinate reduction in polling stations, in 2016, in Arizona’s Maricopa County – from 200 down to 60 – by the county recorder Helen Purcell. Stations in predominantly Latino regions were either eliminated altogether or reduced drastically. All for saving costs. How so, when the Latino population is increasing in this state?

Ari Berman’s work makes Helen Purcell’s actions crystal clear. He enlightens with detailed accounts of the anti-civil rights playbook of the deep south, the Old Confederacy, the states of which invented creative ways to enforce their will, by denying the vote, upon an awakening American populace. Just as ‘race and segregation’ was coded into ‘Law and Order’ in the ’70’s, voter suppression is masked under cost savings today.

Sadder still is the ‘zombification,’ by the US Supreme Court, of Section 5 of the historic Voter Registration Act of 1965 that helped ensure the Old Confederacy did not continue to impose its discriminatory policies upon blacks and other minorities. Under the banner of equality of state sovereignty, the majority Reagan appointees to the Supreme Court have weakened provisions of the VRA that reigned in renegade southern states – something that politicians of the Grand Old Party failed to do for decades.

The merry old ways of the good old boys will continue.

A book every American citizen, old boys included, must read – not only for the factual and detailed history within, but also for some understanding of the anguish of a divided nation.

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About Rian Nejar

Rian Nejar is a mid-60's child from India. He trained and worked as an engineer in India, lived briefly in the Middle East, and arrived in America in the early 90's. After a Master’s degree in electrical engineering in America, he worked as an academic instructor, engineer, entrepreneur, and technical writer over the two decades since. Humbling and Humility is the first heartfelt written expression of his varied life experiences. He lives and writes in the Southwest United States.
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