ACLU, Lawyers' Committee Intervene in Georgia Voting Rights Act Challenge
by Lateefah Williams*, 7/7/2010
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.
The Justice Department has declined to approve it under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act over concerns that it unfairly targets minority voters.
Section 5 requires all or part of 16 states, including nine states in their entirety, to seek federal approval before changing election rules or procedures due to past laws and practices that discriminated against and disenfranchised racial minorities.
"The suit says if the federal court declines to approve Georgia's voter verification process, it should declare Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional," according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The civil rights groups are intervening to protect the rights of minority voters. "The many U.S. citizen minority voters in Georgia who were incorrectly flagged as non-citizens under the state's voter-verification procedures can attest to the fact that discrimination in voting continues and the need for Section 5 remains," said Laughlin McDonald, of the ACLU Voting Rights Project, in a press release.