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Tag: Shelby County v. Holder

The Story of Texas SB 14: A Legal Lazarus

By: Shawn Syed

“Lazarus” is a name associated with a simple story. A subject dies. The Subject is then restored and is suddenly alive. Lazarus has been explored in songs, movies, and other forms of narrative. The 82nd Texas Legislature’s Senate Bill 14 (SB 14) is the legal world’s example of Lazarus.

Our Lazarus, SB 14, allowed the following to be accepted as voter identification: Texas Driver License, Texas Election Identification Certificate, Texas Personal Identification Card, Texas Concealed Handgun License, United States Military Identification Card, United States Citizenship Certificate, or United States Passport. The most notable form of identification that was not included was a student ID. The first four could only be issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The Texas Department of Public Safety has been in the news for other reasons recently. The Texas Department of Public Safety proposed closing 87 driver’s license offices as a solution to cut down wait times. In effect, this would hinder the ability of people trying to get certain forms of acceptable identification under SB 14.

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In Alabama, an Ease on Restrictions for Felon Voting—From an Unlikely Source

By: Zach McDonnell

In May 2017, the Alabama Legislature did something unusual, especially for a state in many respects still steeped in the vestiges of the Jim Crow era: it made it easier for people with felony convictions to vote. On May 17, 2017, the Alabama Legislature passed the Definition of Moral Turpitude Act (DMTA); eight days later, Governor Kay Ivey signed the bill into law, which took effect on August 1, 2017. In contrast to Republican politicians such as Governors Terry Branstad of Iowa and Rick Scott of Florida, Alabama Republicans led the re-enfranchisement effort: Representative Mike Jones, a Republican from deeply white district in southern Alabama, introduced the bill, which passed 102-1 in the Alabama House and 29-6 in the Alabama Senate—in both of which Republicans have a supermajority.

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Why Was South Carolina’s Voter ID Law Approved in 2012? Will It Remain?

By: Lane Reeder

Prior to Shelby County v. Holder in 2013, South Carolina was a covered jurisdiction under Section Five of the Voting Rights Act.  In 2011, during Legislative Session 119, the South Carolina legislature passed, and the Governor signed, an act that made voting-related changes.  Section Five of Act R54 (A27 H3003) (2011) dealt with voter identification. Because this happened prior to Shelby County v. Holder, pre-clearance was required.  The State asked for pre-clearance from the Attorney General of the United States, but it was denied.  South Carolina then sought a declaratory judgment in the D.C. District Court.

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North Carolina’s 2013 Voting Laws Were Struck Down By the 4th Circuit, But The State May Not Be Out of the Legal Fights Yet

By: Blake Willis

When the Fourth Circuit struck down North Carolina HB 589, the notorious law which toughened voter-ID requirements, limited early voting, and limited same-day registration, many who champion voter rights believed that North Carolina’s long-standing history as a state with suppressive voter laws may begin to change. However, that optimism may be short lived as North Carolina is now facing challenges on two other election law provisions.

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ELS Speaker Series: Will Consovoy

By: Nate Burchard

On October 25, 2016, the William & Mary Election Law Society Speaker Series hosted attorney Will Consovoy. Consovoy is an appellate attorney and founding partner of Consovoy McCarthy Park LLC, co-director of the George Mason University School of Law Supreme Court Clinic, and former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

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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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Speaking Their Language: How Appreciation for Culture Will Lead to Participation in Politics

By Tom Lukish

Lukish Post 1From its western banks along the Bering Strait to its eastern border with the Yukon Territory, Alaska encompasses a large terrain colloquially known as “The Last Frontier.”  A home for some 735,000, and a vacation destination for many more, America’s northernmost state perhaps likely comprises the only world several Yup’ik- and Gwich’in-speaking villagers have ever known.  Indeed, many in Alaska’s southwest region, “still depend upon subsistence fishing, hunting and gathering for food.”  For them, and for advocates nationwide of a more expansive Voting Rights Act (VRA), there is tremendous hope for the future.  3,770 miles from the pertinent jurisdiction in last year’s Shelby County v. Holder and nearly fifty years after the initial passing of the VRA, Alaska Natives present a new sort of story.

In certain parts of Alaska, such as those which encompass the Wade Hampton Census Area, American Indians and Alaska Natives amount to approximately 92% of the total population.  Perhaps realizing the cultural influence such individuals maintain, organizations like the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) have made efforts to assist natives as they seek increased political efficacy in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Continue reading

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