Unfinished Business

Civil Rights News: The Man Behind Voter ID; Government Does Create Jobs; U.S. Diversity and Changing Politics

Compiled by Joe Bear, a Fall 2012 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern

The Voter-Fraud Myth
The New Yorker
By Jane Mayer

Although voter fraud has been proven to be a nonexistent threat, Republican lawyer Hans von Spakovsky has been pushing for restrictive voter ID laws and other suppressive measures throughout the country for years. For example, he has been an important figure behind organizations like True the Vote and the Ohio Voter Integrity Project, which claim to fight voter fraud but in fact challenge eligible citizens’ rights to vote. These campaigns most often target students and people of color, and virtually every case of alleged voter fraud von Spakovsky has presented has been disproven. Civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis has compared voter ID laws to old voter suppression laws of the South.

The Myth of Job Creation
New York Times

Both President Obama and Governor Romney said in the most recent debate that government does not create jobs. In truth, however, federal, state, and local governments are the employers of 22 million Americans, including teachers, police officers, and firefighters. And beyond those directly employed by the government, government spending and contracts help create millions of more private-sector jobs. According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, there would now be 2.3 million more jobs in the U.S. if not for budget cuts at the state and local level, and increased federal spending could help create more jobs.

The Country’s Minority Populations Have Grown, Racial Inequalities Persist
AP/The Washington Post

People of color are an increasingly larger share of the United States’ population. In coming decades, Whites will likely no longer be a majority in the country. As a result, issues most closely affecting communities of color are increasingly important to the nation. For instance, African Americans and Latinos face much higher unemployment rates and are less likely to have health insurance than the overall population. There are many other problems of inequality affecting minority communities throughout the country and matters of racial justice need to remain on the agenda.