Voting rights for many are at risk. Ari Berman, author and investigative journalist, joined The Common Good to discuss “Voting Rights & the Efforts to Limit Voting Rights Today” and why young voters, minorities, the elderly and others should be concerned, as well as his book Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America.
The Voting Rights Act enfranchised millions of Americans and is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement. And yet fifty years later, we are still fighting heated battles over race, representation, and political power, with lawmakers devising new strategies to keep many citizens out of the voting booth.
A groundbreaking narrative history of voting rights since 1965, Give Us the Ballot tells the story of what happened after the act was passed. Through meticulous archival research, fresh interviews with the leading participants in the ongoing struggle, and incisive on-the-ground reporting, Ari Berman chronicles the transformative impact the act had on American democracy and investigates how the fight over the right to vote has continued in the decades since. From new strategies to keep minorities out of the voting booth, to cynical efforts to limit political representation by gerrymandering electoral districts, to the Supreme Court's recent stunning decision that declared a key part of the Voting Rights Act itself unconstitutional, to the efforts by the Justice Department and grassroots activists to counter these attacks, Berman tells the dramatic story of the pitched contest over the very heart of our democracy. At this important historical moment, Give Us the Ballot brings new insight to one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time.
Ari Berman is a contributing writer for The Nation magazine and an Investigative Journalism Fellow at The Nation Institute. His book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, was published in August 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He has written extensively about American politics, civil rights, and the intersection of money and politics. His stories have also appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and The Guardian, and he is a frequent guest and commentator on MSNBC and NPR. His first book, Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics, was published in 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.