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Voting Rights Act challenged

Posted: February 25, 2013 - 1:00am

An extremely important case is being argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Feby 27, Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder. At stake is the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), particularly Section 5 of the VRA, the enforcement mechanism of the law. The VRA outlawed state voting discrimination and has been reauthorized several times by Congress, most recently in 2006 with bipartisan support.

Section 5 of the VRA is absolutely necessary to protect voting rights and defend against barriers to voting. In recent years we have seen various attempts to make the voting process more difficult for eligible citizens, illustrating that citizens continue to need Section 5 to protect free, fair, and accessible elections. In the years since the VRA was made law, it has defeated approximately 2,400 discriminatory voting changes, including proposed changes in many states as recently as 2012.

The League of Women Voters of the United States has a more than 90-year history of defending voting rights and has submitted amicus briefs in Shelby v. Holder. It is the belief of the LWVUS that should the court overturn the VRA, not only will our voting rights be threatened, but also the foundation of our democracy.

Judy Andree

President

League of Women Voters of Juneau, Alaska

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