Federal Appeals Court Upholds Voting Rights Act

Affiliate: ACLU of Alabama
May 18, 2012 12:34 pm

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WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court today upheld a major provision of the Voting Rights Act in a case involving Shelby County, Alabama, affirming the need for legislation that helps protect minorities’ right to vote.

“This important ruling recognizes the need to uphold the Voting Rights Act in order to ensure every eligible American citizen can vote, regardless of race or language ability,” said Laughlin McDonald, director of the ACLU Voting Rights Project. “Our cherished right to vote is under a continuous attack in Alabama and across the country, and millions of voters could be blocked from voting in upcoming elections. It is crystal clear that we must have these protections in place so that does not happen.”

The ACLU had intervened in the case, Shelby County v. Holder, on behalf of the Alabama State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and four Shelby County voters.

Today’s ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirms that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act – which protects racial and language minorities’ access to voting – should remain in place. Section 5 requires certain jurisdictions like Shelby County that have a history of discriminatory voting practices to get advance approval from the federal government before changing their election laws. Shelby County attempted to circumvent this requirement by implementing election plans that dilute the minority vote.

To read the court’s opinion, go to: www.aclu.org/voting-rights/shelby-county-alabama-v-holder-opinion-us-cou…

To read more about the case, including the original motion to intervene, go to: www.aclu.org/voting-rights/aclu-moves-intervene-alabama-voting-rights-ac…

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