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Two Significant Voting Rights Cases Heard by Supreme Court

"Stakes for Voting Rights Higher in 2013"


The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in the case of Arizona v. ITCA, Inc. a critically-important voting rights case that examines whether the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) prevents states from passing laws that restrict the voter registration process. In this case, the League of Women Voters of the U.S. submitted an amicus brief and the League of Women Voters of Arizona was a named plaintiff.

 

This term two cases being heard have the potential to strike near fatal blows to core protections of Americans’ right to vote: Shelby County v. Holder and Arizona v. ITCA, Inc. The Shelby County case, heard in late February, examines the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ( VRA), landmark legislation that outlawed racial discrimination in state voting practices.

 

“The importance of the two recent Supreme  Court voting rights cases – Arizona v. ITCA, Inc.

 (March) and Shelby County, AL v. Holder (Feb) – really can’t be overstated,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. “The stakes have always been high in the fight to protect and expand voters’ right but the stakes got a lot higher in 2013.”

 

The Court is currently considering two of the most significant voting rights laws in the modern era. The decisions in either and both of these cases could be game-changers when it comes to protections for the right of every citizen to vote and the work the League and citizen groups like   us do to expand participation in elections.

 

For more than 90 years, we have worked hard to bring down barriers to voting and participation and it is deeply troubling that the nation’s highest Court might turn its back on the crowning achievements of the civil rights era.  As the grassroots organization that led the push for enactment of the NVRA and worked to help reauthorize the VRA, we are concerned that these cases could reverse years, even decades of progress.  As of now, Nevada hasn’t attempted to curtail voting rights.  The Secretary of State’s proposal for Voter ID changes does not, in our opinion, curtail these rights.

 

Without a strong VRA, voting rights are left without vital protections and without the NVRA, the voter registration process is vulnerable to political manipulation. If states win and voters lose before the U.S. Supreme Court, we can expect to see additional states consider an even broader range of restrictions on voting and changes to our election systems unparalleled since the days of Jim Crow.

The league of Women Voters of the United States regularly issues press releases addressing issues of voter interest. Here is the link to the LVW press release site.

 

League of Women Voters

Press Release Page: http://www.lwv.org/news-and-media/press_release