The ACLU intervened in Nix v Holder (previously Laroque v Holder) on behalf of residents of Kinston, N.C. and the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP in order to ensure that the Voting Rights Act is protected and upheld. The case challenges the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act.
Since 1965, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act has been protecting racial and language minorities’ access to voting. It requires jurisdictions like Kinston that have a history of discriminatory voting practices to obtain approval, or preclearance, before changing their election laws. Section 5 has been challenged in the past, but its constitutionality has consistently been upheld by the Supreme Court.
Congress last extended Section 5 in 2006, and according to the 2006 congressional report, without Section 5 “racial and language minority citizens will be deprived of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote, or will have their votes diluted, undermining the significant gains made by minorities in the last 40 years.”