It’s been nearly one year since the Supreme Court declared on June 25, 2013 in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder that states with a history of chronic racial discrimination no longer needed to get Justice Department approval for changes to voting rules under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
As a result of that devastating ruling, millions of voters are vulnerable to discriminatory measures such as changes to polling hours, imposition of onerous voter ID rules, and closure of polling places.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund litigated Shelby v. Holder in the Supreme Court, and we have been active on numerous fronts in response to the ruling.
Here are some highlights of LDF’s post-Shelby activities and resources
Investigation: In the 11 months since the ruling, our attorneys have enlisted community members in the affected states to participate in the voter’s equivalent of a community watch, asking them to be their “eyes and ears” on the ground to alert them of suspect changes to voting laws. LDF attorneys have collectively traveled hundreds of thousands of milesto more than a dozen states, tracking down leads, meeting with community leaders and individuals, handing out flyers, and monitoring elections. And we’ve acted quickly when we’ve encountered evidence of discriminatory changes to voting. Next month we will be visiting jurisdictions in Alabama, Texas, South Carolina and Louisiana.
Litigation: In some cases we filed lawsuits. In others, a letter threatening litigation was enough to convince officials to withdraw their proposals. But for every letter we send, and every case we file, we know there are many more out there that we may never hear of.
Advocacy: NAACP LDF is part of a broad coalition calling for passage of the Voting Rights Amendment Act, which updates and modernizes the Voting Rights Act to combat present-day voting discrimination wherever it may occur. Here’s our analysis of the proposed VRAA.