Politics and civics Tech & society

On this day … the voting rights struggle continues

On 6 August 1965, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. Because the 15th Amendment (1870) had failed to prevent widespread voter discrimination, states needed another legal kick-in-the-pants.

That struggle is still ongoing.

This year, courts have struck down onerous voter suppression laws (attacking voting rights by claiming “phantom election fraud“) in Kansas (July), North Carolina (July), North Dakota (August), Ohio (June), Texas (July), and Wisconsin (July).

Nevertheless, without additional intervention, 15 states will be restricting voting rights in November using laws passed subsequently to 2012 (the previous presidential election). Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Next week, the 6th Circuit appellate court hears arguments in Cincinnati, OH over irregularities in law and ballot validation.

When Columbus area resident Gunther Lahm and his wife filled out their absentee ballots in Florida back in 2014, they thought their votes would count. But since that time, they’ve learned those ballots did not count because of a mistake…a mistake they thought they had corrected.

“My wife mistakenly put our ballots in the wrong envelopes, meaning that my ballot went into her envelope and her ballot went into mine. She realized, after she had sealed them, that she had made a mistake so she hand wrote and corrected everything on each of those outer envelopes except for the date of birth. She forgot to fill out the date of birth.”

Civil rights attorney Subodh Chandra found the Lahms’ votes didn’t count when he was researching how different counties handle different situations under Ohio’s law.

Chandra found while Franklin County didn’t count the Lahms’ ballots, some other counties would have.

In Washington state, the county elections office would have contacted the voters about their ballots in plenty of time for them to be validated and counted.

Today is also a somber one in the nation’s history.

On 6 August 1945, the Paul Tibbets, the commander of the Enola Gray, released an atomic bomb over Hiroshima. The bomb killed approximately 80,000 people and injured another 35,000. Before year’s end, at least 60,000 more would die from complications of the radioactive fall-out.

In tech history, 25 years ago — 6 August 1991 — Sir Tim Berners-Lee launched the digital information age with the first website, That simple act led to the World Wide Web, Wikileaks and PokemonGo. As well as the ripple effects of Edward Snowden’s revelations and the 2007-2008 global economic collapse.

Finally, one year ago … August 6 marked the last taping of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.


Featured image based on Brennan Center data.
Last year, I analyzed GOP presidential candidate statements/policy positions about voting rights.


By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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