10.09.14

Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy On SCOTUS Decision Allowing N. Carolina To Implement Sweeping Voting Changes Weeks Before The Election --

[The Supreme Court voted late Wednesday to allow North Carolina to implement all of the provisions contained in its sweeping, omnibus voting law the State passed on the heels of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which effectively eliminated preclearance requirements for changes in voting laws within covered jurisdictions.  A Fourth Circuit panel last week decided that two of the law’s provisions — the prohibition on counting any out-of-precinct ballots and the elimination of same-day registration and voting — could significantly limit opportunities to vote, especially for African Americans, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.  Despite the Fourth Circuit’s decision to halt these two changes from taking place just weeks before an election, the Supreme Court allowed them to go forth last night.  Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, has introduced a bipartisan and bicameral bill to help remedy the Court’s assaults on the Voting Rights Act.  A GAO report released Wednesday by Leahy and other Senators documents some of the harm done by voter suppression laws.]

“The Supreme Court’s decision will make it harder for thousands — especially African-American and low-income voters—to vote and to have their votes counted.  This disappointing decision was set in motion by the Court’s disastrous opinion last summer in Shelby County v. Holder, which gutted critical protections in the Voting Rights Act.  The moment the ink was dry on the Shelby County decision, the Republican-controlled North Carolina State Legislature jammed through the most egregious and suppressive voting law we have seen in recent memory.  Justice Ginsburg noted in her dissent that North Carolina’s ‘measures likely would not have survived federal preclearance’ required under the Voting Rights Act before Shelby County.  Congress must restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act by passing the bipartisan, bicameral legislation I introduced earlier this year with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Congressman John Lewis and others.” 

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