When the Supreme Court ruled the “pre-clearance” provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights act unconstitutional Chief Justice Roberts proclaimed: “things have changed dramatically” in the south in the nearly 50 years since the Voting Rights Act was signed, and Congress should have updated the coverage formula for pre-clearance at the time they reauthorized it in 2006. It is a shame they didn’t.
Yes, things have changed in many states since the passage of the Voting Rights Act, but they have not improved as significantly as some of us have been lead to believe.
Although pre-clearance only applied to seven of our U.S. states, and Tennessee was not one of them, currently in Tennessee, almost 50 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, our voters remain “disenfranchised when it comes to the right to vote” on the governance of our most sacrosanct and valued possession: “Our land and our homes.”
In every other state except for two, citizens have the right to vote on the annexation of their property by a municipality. Yet in Tennessee, we are still denied that privilege by our antediluvian and iniquitous Urban Growth laws.
One would think that after the passage of seven constitutional amendments dealing with voting rights as well as the Voting Rights act that no state would dare to deny anyone the right to vote.
The Voting Rights Act states that annexation can “potentially” discriminate and disenfranchise voting rights. And, when this is suspected it should be submitted to the Department of Justice for pre-clearance: Yet, in Tennessee forced annexation has continued for years without federal intervention?
Tennesseans should welcome this Supreme Court decision as an opportunity for our congressmen to revisit the 15th amendment and clarify the issue of pre-clearance. New laws should apply equally to all states in our nation. It is only then that Tennesseans will be assured they will remain forever free from the servitude and inequities of "Forced Municipal Annexation.”
"When confronting the most constitutionally invidious form of discrimination and the most fundamental right in our democratic system, Congress' power to act is at its height." Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
William Haupt III
Tennesseans Against Forced Annexation
“The people’s movement for annexation reform”