ACLU, Lawyers' Committee Intervene in Georgia Voting Rights Act Challenge

On July 6, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Georgia, and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a motion to intervene in Georgia v. Holder, the state of Georgia's challenge to the Voting Rights Act. Georgia filed suit against the U.S. Department of Justice because it wants the federal government to allow it to verify each voter's citizenship before allowing an individual to vote.

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Recent Push for Bipartisan Voter Reform Measures

Recent efforts to reform and modernize the voter system have received bipartisan support. The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, which would allow overseas troops and American citizens to access voter information online, passed Congress last week with bipartisan support from legislators who "decried an antiquated voting system that left as many as one out of four overseas ballots uncounted," according to Roll Call.

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Renewed Focus on Voting Reform

Recent efforts have renewed focus on voting reform efforts. Voter registration reform, a major issue highlighted in the 2008 election, is receiving attention from key legislators. According to the National Journal, Sen. Charles Schumer ( D-NY), chair of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, will introduce a bill later this year that addresses concerns with the voter registration system.

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Will Obama's Presidency Impact Key Voting Rights Case?

Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder, a U.S. Supreme Court case where Texas is challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, is scheduled for oral arguments on April 29. Section 5, which was reauthorized in 2006, applies to all or part of 16 states and it applies to nine states in their entirety. It requires those states to get federal approval before changing election rules or procedures, as a result of past laws and practices that discriminated against and disenfranchised racial minorities.

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Is Voting Rights Discrimination an Issue of the Past in Alabama?

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley says that voting rights discrimination in Alabama is an issue of the Past. He feels that Alabama is currently being unfairly punished for its actions during the Jim Crow period. Thus, he had state lawyers file a brief in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Mukasey, a U.S. Supreme Court case where Texas is challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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Alabama Moves One Step Closer to Early Voting

An Alabama House Committee approved a measure that would allow no-excuse absentee voting for Alabama voters.  The bill would allow anyone to cast an absentee ballot as long as 40 days before the election.  The House Constitution and Elections Committee approved the bill 9-2.

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Nonprofits Help Disenfranchised Michigan Voter Join Voter Rights Lawsuit

The Advancement Project and the ACLU filed a motion, on behalf of Lisa Blehm, the wife of a U.S. serviceman, that will allow her to join a voter rights lawsuit. Pepper Hamilton LLP, the law firm representing the two nonprofits, filed a lawsuit in September 2008 on behalf of several nonprofits against several Michigan officials for illegal voter purges.

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