Today’s South deserves its innocence

Published 12:07 am Friday, January 24, 2014

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court wisely ruled a section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 used antiquated standards for racial discrimination.

In the process, the court ruling effectively eliminated the guilty until proven innocent mark slapped on the back of many Southern states — including Mississippi and Louisiana.

Section 5 of the act required federal preclearance of any change in voting act practice or procedure.

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We’d long argued the preclearance requirement was unfair in that it assumed that because states were unfair 50 years ago, that they must still be racially motivated today.

The Supreme Court decision, it seemed, closed the book on the preclearance requirement once and for all.

But no, last week three congressmen from Northern states who likely rarely have stepped foot in Mississippi or Louisiana have introduced a new bill aimed at fixing the high court’s decision.

If their bill becomes law, Mississippi and Louisiana may again require preclearance for any elections process changes.

The bill would require preclearance for states found to have voting rights violations in recent history.

That process still seems unfair as it assumes guilt on the front end.

We hope the latest effort in Congress is defeated and that the South regains the presumptions of innocence until proven guilty.