Archives

Uncategorized

In an order issued this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would not hear Kinston, N.C.’s challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

 The Court will nonetheless be considering the merits of Section 5, given its decision on Friday to hear a challenge brought by Shelby County, Alabama.

Section 5 of the VRA requires certain states and jurisdictions to get U.S. Department of Justice preclearance of changes to voting practices.

In Nix, Kinston voters who had approved a 2008 referendum for non-partisan local elections challenged the Justice Department’s refusal to preclear that change, saying that DOJ was using Section 5 in racially divisive ways. Though the Department had initially refused to preclear the change, it ultimately withdrew its objections.

The Court did not comment on why it declined to hear the Nix appeal, but a lower court had already ruled that case to be moot since DOJ had withdrawn its objections.

Uncategorized

Election Day may have passed, but questions about voting rights are far from over. At the U.S. Supreme Court alone, at least four voting rights cases are pending and may be heard this term.

We’ll have more on that next week, but for now we’ll share what one son of the South had to say this week when confronted with a voter ID challenge in Ohio.

There, one day after the election, lawyers for Ohio secretary of state Jon Husted found themselves before U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley, defending Husted’s last minute directive to poll workers to reject any provisional ballot in which voter identification information had been improperly recorded.  Marbley had previously entered an order requiring poll workers to record that information on the ballot and holding them responsible for any errors, so that ballots could not be rejected on that basis. Read More

Uncategorized

The Supreme Court will consider whether to hear two cases challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act at its private conference on Friday, Nov. 2 – including one filed by the Kinston (NC) Citizens for Non-Partisan Voting, Nix v. Holder. Nix will be considered along with a companion case, Shelby County (AL) v. Holder.

Section 5 of the VRA requires certain states and jurisdictions to get U.S. Department of Justice preclearance of changes to voting practices.

In Nix, Kinston voters who had approved a 2008 referendum for non-partisan local elections are challenging the Justice Department’s refusal to preclear that change, saying that DOJ was using Section 5 in racially divisive ways. The Department had initially refused to preclear the change based upon on 2006 amendments to Section 5  encouraging voting practices that would help minority candidates for office attract white cross-over voters. Though DOJ ultimately allowed the changes, the Kinston voters are continuing their challenge, focusing on the 2006 amendments.

Shelby County involves a challenge to the formula for selecting jurisdictions covered by Section 5’s preclearance procedure, which was extended by the 2006 amendments to 2031. The county contends that the formula is based upon voting data from 35 years ago and that voting turnout and registration rates now approach parity in many of the covered jurisdictions.

A decision on whether the Court will hear the cases is likely late Friday or Monday, Nov. 5.