Category Archives: Voting Rights

Supreme Court to weigh ongoing validity of voting rights law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court on Wednesday [02.27.2013] will consider whether to strike down a key provision of a federal law designed to protect minority voters.

During the one-hour oral argument, the nine justices will hear the claim made by officials from Shelby County, Alabama, that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is no longer needed.

The key issue is whether Congress has the authority under the 15th Amendment, which gave African Americans the right to vote, to require some states, mainly in the South, to show that any proposed election-law change would not discriminate against minority voters.

Conservative activists and local officials in some jurisdictions covered by the provision have long complained about it, saying that it is an unacceptable infringement on state sovereignty.

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow with the conservative Heritage Foundation who formerly worked in the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said that the “terrible history” that warranted Section 5’s intrusion on state authority was over.

Desiline VictorSo let’s ask Ms. Desilene Victor a 102 year old Florida voter if that “terrible history” is over. It took Ms. Desilene six hours to vote during the 2012 Presidential Election. A bill has been introduced by Florida State Senator Oscar Braynon.

Senator Braynon’s bill–SB 888 or Desiline’s Free and Fair Democracy Acthopes to “modernize the state’s voting system and enshrine the right to vote into state law,” according to an Advancement Project press release.

Brennan Center for Justice: Creating a Modern Voting System for All Americans

Today at the National Press Club here in Washington, DC, The Brennan Center for Justice hosted a presentation featuring leading Secretaries of State to talk about how America can improve our voter registration system.

Just days after President Obama mentioned voting reform in his inaugural address, the Brennan Center highlighted our proposal to modernize voter registration and bring America’s election system into the 21st century. The plan, Voter Registration Modernization, is the centerpiece of the Voter Empowerment Act, introduced by Rep. John Lewis and other congressional leaders. “The ramshackle voter registration system is a prime cause of long lines and Election Day chaos,” said Michael Waldman. “We have a chance to modernize our elections so that every eligible citizen is on the rolls, with lower costs and greater election security. On Election Day, President Obama said we need to fix this. Here’s how.”