Federal Court Rejects Challenge to Voting Rights Act in North Carolina

December 22, 2011

ACLU Had Intervened in Challenge to Key Provision that Ensures Minorities’ Right to Vote

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

WASHINGTON - A District of Columbia federal court today rejected a challenge in North Carolina to a key part of the Voting Rights Act that helps ensure minorities' right to vote.

The American Civil Liberties Union, along with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, had intervened in the case, Laroque v. Holder, on behalf of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and six minority residents.

"The right to vote has been under attack across the country, with many states passing laws that will keep minorities, seniors and low-income residents away from the polls,” said Laughlin McDonald, director of the ACLU Voting Rights Project.

“Today's decision recognizes the importance of the Voting Rights Act for protecting everyone's right to vote. States that challenge the constitutionality of a law that is so critical for ensuring eligible voters can participate in our democracy are not acting responsibly.”

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark civil rights law that helps protect the right to vote for language and racial minorities. Under Section 5 of the VRA, certain states with a history of voter suppression - including North Carolina - must have changes to their election laws approved to ensure they are not discriminatory. Today's ruling expressly rejected a constitutional challenge to the extension of Section 5 of the VRA by Congress in 2006.

The ACLU has also intervened in a case filed by Shelby County, Ala., where the state is challenging the constitutionality of the VRA, and filed motions to intervene in similar cases filed by Arizona and Georgia. Additionally, the ACLU has sent comment letters to the Department of Justice seeking to block discriminatory laws in South Carolina and Texas, and last week filed a lawsuit against Wisconsin's voter ID law.

To read the court's opinion in Laroque v. Holder, go to: www.aclu.org/voting-rights/laroque-v-holder-opinion.

 

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