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Voting Rights Threatened after High Court Ruling

NASW sign from rally at the U.S. Supreme Court before the voting rights ruling.

NASW sign from rally at the U.S. Supreme Court before the voting rights ruling.

Due to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling states such as North Carolina and Texas are rushing to make changes in voting procedures that could discourage African Americans and other minorities from voting, according to this New York Times article.

These changes include ending early voting and requiring voting IDs. Allison Riggs, a voting rights lawyer, said the efforts in North Carolina are a “a cynical strategy to disenfranchise blacks.”

The Supreme Court on June 25 ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is unconstitutional for purposes of identifying the jurisdictions that must submit voting changes for federal review before they can be implemented.

That court’s ruling also makes Section 5 of the law, or pre-clearance, ineffective unless Congress enacts a new formula. Under pre-clearance states affected by VRA must have voting law changes approved by the U.S. Justice Department or a federal court in Washington, D.C.

Without pre-clearance states such as North Carolina are pushing for new laws that would have been considered discriminatory under VRA.

The National Association of Social Workers is closely watching this issue and is pushing for Congress to restore voting rights in aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The association released a statement voicing its concern about the court decision. This NASW blog also gives social workers information on how to follow this issue and who to contact to get involved.





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