Shelby County Takes Voting Rights Act To Supreme Court

A group of people have brought a legal challenge to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which barred racial discrimination in voting practices, to the Supreme Court on Friday, in an attempt to repeal Section 5 of the law.

The petition hopes to repeal only Section 5 of the law, which requires that states with a history of discrimination get permission from the federal government before they can change their election procedures, reports The Chicago Tribune.

The challenge to the law has been filed by supporters of a 2008 Kinston, North Carolina measure, which would omit candidates’ party affiliations from ballots.

The Kinston measure supporters have also asked the Supreme Court to consider a pending appeal from Shelby County, Alabama, which is agreeing with Kinston, saying that Section 5 unfairly targets selected governments, because of a decades-old formula.

The Chicago Tribune also notes that there have been more challenges to the 1965 Voting Rights Act in the past two years than in the previous 45, which include lawsuits in Texas and South Carolina as well.

Market Watch reports that Edward Blum, Director of the Project on Fair Representation, stated:

“This case presents the Supreme Court with an opportunity to strike down an outdated and unnecessary portion of the Voting Rights Act that punishes some states for voting transgressions that are long gone. It makes no sense today that Alabama, Virginia, and Arizona are subject to federal oversight regarding elections while Arkansas, West Virginia, and New Mexico are not.”

Blum also noted that:

“The data proving remarkable changes in racial conditions in these jurisdictions are irrefutable: Criteria such as minority voter registration rates, election turnout, success of minority candidates, and other factors, indicate there is no meaningful and quantifiable difference in the voting rights exercised by minorities in the jurisdictions covered by Section 5 and non-covered jurisdictions. In fact, the evidence suggests that the covered jurisdictions offer greater opportunity for minorities to participate at the polls than non-covered ones. Congress knew this in 2006, but chose to ignore it.”

And now, Blum, along with residents in Shelby County, Alabama and Kinston, North Carolina believe that Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act is not needed.

Voting Rights Act Appeal