Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

About

Victoria is Assistant Dean at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and a contributor to MSNBC and Telemundo. Her areas of expertise in the domestic policy landscape include immigration, Latinos, women and childcare, and economic equity. more→

Research

Victoria brings an interdisciplinary lens to understanding policy development and its intersection with institutional and political contexts. Underlying her academic work is the applicability of rigorous research to on-the-ground policy realities.

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto
Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Recent Media

This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

These days, voting is largely uneventful.  You show up at the polls, check in, vote, and get your sticker.

Long gone are the days of having to take a literacy test, such as that used in Alabama in 1965 that was a 68 question civics exam that I doubt most of my political science students could ace.   We also no longer have to shell out the equivalent of a day’s wages to cast a vote.  And finally while some of us may experience burdensome lines to vote we are not in physical danger of violence or intimidation to keep us from polls.

The 1965 Voting Rights Act not only outlawed voter suppression through intimidation, poll taxes, and literacy tests, but it provided the government the teeth to implement these enforcements.  The 1965 VRA protected voting rights by not just having the ability to react to the suppression of voting rights but by pro-actively preventing mechanisms that would infringe on an individual’s voting rights.

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is the legislation’s hall monitor.  Under this section the most egregious voting rights bullies were put on notice that they’d have to check in and make sure any change in their voting rules didn’t go back to their bullying ways.  Most of the Southern states along with Arizona, Alaska, and a number of counties throughout the nation met the criteria for needing a little extra vigilance and protection from the VRA hall monitor.

But, it’s no fun to be monitored and to have to raise your hand and ask permission to do something, such as change a voting protocol.  This is exactly the sentiment of one VRA covered jurisdiction, Shelby County, Alabama and they will be appearing before the Supreme Court next week to argue that the Section 5 hall monitor is no longer needed and that good voting rights behavior will follow. (more…)