State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: Language and voting

Voter’s Choice: The New Way to Vote

By : Elizabeth Harte

As the nation works to achieve a balance between election security and access to voting, California is rolling out a new system designed to “modernize elections.” Entitled “California’s Voter’s Choice Act,” the act was passed in 2016 and will become available for all counties to adopt in 2020. This extraordinary plan moves voting into the twenty-first century and does away with traditional, assigned voting places. In their stead, Californian counties that opt into the act will implement “vote centers.” These centers will serve as an all-purpose stop for Californians to ensure their voices are heard. For example, instead of the typical assignment to one polling place in their county, a Los Angeles County resident will be able to visit any center in their county most convenient to them and can do so up to ten days before the election. At a center, the said Angeleno can: “vote in person; drop off their ballot; get a replacement ballot; vote using an accessible voting machine; get help and voting material in multiple languages; [and] register to vote or update their voter registration.”

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Alaska Natives Afforded Voting Rights

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was one of the single greatest accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.  The act bans racial discrimination in voting practices by all levels of government, and was enacted with the specific purpose of enfranchising millions of African-Americans in the South and Latinos in the Southwest, as well as those who had been shut out of the voting process because of their lack of English fluency.  Due to its overwhelming success,  the Voting Rights Act is often considered the “most effective civil rights law ever enacted.” Although a major component of the Voting Rights Act was held to be unconstitutional in the case Shelby County v. Holder in 2013, some states are still experiencing the benefits the Voting Rights Act was meant to provide.

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