Protecting the right to vote

February 9, 2013

On February 27, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, which challenges Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act. Section 5 has a history of upholding the right to vote for many Americans by requiring preclearance for changes to voting rights law in certain states and municipalities with histories of discrimination. The Leadership Conference has put together a couple of videos on section 5 showing how it has protected the rights of real citizens from overreaching laws —

First, from Texas

Then, from South Carolina

From the Leadership Conference:

Although our country has made immense progress over past decades – thanks in large part to the Voting Rights Act – the law has a strong track record and continues to be needed to protect voters from genuine and documented attempts at disenfranchisement. The Voting Rights Act is necessary to ensure that our aspirations for a stronger democracy are a reality for all citizens.

We’ll be watching the developments in Shelby County v. Holder over the course of February. Stay tuned for more.

Here are some additional links for reading:

US Department of Justice: About Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

SCOTUSblog: Shelby County v. Holder

ProPublica: Voting Rights Act: The State of Section 5

The Nation: Why We Still Need Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

Media Matters: Facts and Myths About the Supreme Court Challenge to the Voting Rights Act