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Ten takeaways from this week’s voting rights hearing

Voting rightsAri Berman at The Nation reports on some of what he saw and learned after spending the week at the voting rights hearing in Winston-Salem,  alongside the unsinkable Rosanell Eaton.

From a list of ten points he makes, here’s number one:

1. The law disproportionately burdens African-American voters

The plaintiffs, including DOJ, the ACLU and the Advancement Project, focused on three specific provisions of the law—the reduction of early voting from 17 days to 10 days, the elimination of same-day registration during the early voting period and the prohibition on counting provisional ballots cast in the right county but wrong precinct. In recent elections, African-Americans were twice as likely to vote early, use same-day registration and vote out-of-precinct.

In 2012, for example, 300,000 African-Americans voted during the week of early voting eliminated by the state, 30,000 used same-day registration and 2,500 cast out-of-precinct ballots. Overall, 70 percent of blacks voted early and African-Americans comprised 42 percent of new same-day registrants.

“It is as if House Bill 589 were designed to deter the very practices that encourage turnout among blacks,” testified expert witness Barry Burden, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Read more here.

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