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Vigilance in the Defense of Liberty and Freedom
Thousands of New York prisoners are being set free - from being counted in upstate Republicans' state Senate districts.
Under the federal Voting Rights Act, the Department of Justice has just approved counting inmates in their hometowns - not where they're locked up - for the purposes of political redistricting.
The decision is a blow to lawmakers who have been counting on the captive audience to bolster their population counts - even while those behind bars can't cast a vote.
A bill that would have forced the state to count prisoners in the cities or towns they lived in before they were incarcerated was not called for a vote by the Judiciary Committee, but some lawmakers, like Sen. Eric Coleman, believe there’s a chance it could be resurrected.
Coleman, co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the committee has spent the session grappling with substantial issues like the death penalty and transgender identification. It was also questionable whether the measure had enough support to clear the committee, he said.
Louisiana is being sued for alleged non-compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. (LDF), Project Vote and several private persons.
The lawsuit, filed on April 19, alleges Louisiana has failed to give ample opportunity for low-income and minority voters to register by failing to follow the required procedures outlined in the NVRA.
The Legislative Black Caucus and three civil rights organizations Friday called on the U.S. Justice Department to reject the House redistricting plan drawn at a recent special session of the Louisiana Legislature.
Joining the caucus in signing a letter opposing the plan were the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Urban League and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
The proposal increases the number of House minority districts from 27 to 29, but most caucus members say a 30th district -- and possibly more -- could have been created.
5/13/11Related Case or Issue:
(New York, New York) – This morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of a class of over 6,000 qualified African-American firefighter applicants who were unfairly denied the opportunity to work for the Chicago Fire Department. Last Spring, after over a decade of litigation, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.