University of Delaware Professor Discusses Shelby County v. Holder, Voters Rights Act
Christy D'Antonio - Published: October 8, 2013

Professor Leland Ware, Louis L. Redding Chair for the Study of Law and Public Policy at the University of Delaware

The Pizza with the Professors lunchtime talk series - which sees Widener Law professors or guest lecturers speak on a topic of legal interest – kicked off on Monday, October 7th with a lecture on the Voters Rights Act of 1965 and its continuing importance as an effective means to stop voter discrimination.

Professor Serena Williams spoke briefly and then introduced the guest lecturer, Leland Ware, The Louis L. Redding Chair for the Study of Law and Public Policy at the University of Delaware. Ware is the co-author of the book Brown v. Board of Education: Caste, Culture and the Constitution.

There was an impressive turnout for the program with both students and faculty in attendance. Professor Ware spoke for about 25 minutes, giving background on the Voters Rights Act of 1965 with emphasis on Sections 2 and 5. The Voters Rights Act was enacted as a result of efforts, primarily by southern states, to continue to disenfranchise minority voters despite the 24th Amendment.

The Voting Rights Act was a pivotal piece of legislation and the “jewel of the civil rights movement.” Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act prohibits against discrimination based on “race, color or membership in a language minority.” Section 5 subjects new election practices or procedures to review before they can be put in place to ensure there is no discriminatory purpose.

After Professor Ware’s informative lecture, he sought to create an open dialogue by opening the floor to students for questions. One student asked how the Voter ID Laws disenfranchised people. Professor Ware responded that low income and elderly citizens don’t usually have ID’s. They either have no need of a car or it’s too expensive or inconvenient to obtain an ID. He further commented that you aren’t required to drive to vote so why would you need an ID?