POSTED ON APRIL 1, 2015
U.S. SUPREME COURT BLOCKS REDISTRICTING PLAN THAT PACKS BLACK VOTERS IN ALABAMA
Posted on March 27, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in the Alabama redistricting case supports the argument that the North Carolina State Conference of Branches of the NAACP has been making against North Carolina’s racially gerrymandered districts since they were first proposed in 2011. The Court held that packing black voters to meet a specific racial quota is constitutionally suspect, as was done in Alabama and in North Carolina. The Court remanded the case to the lower court for application of strict scrutiny. “The principles of law announced by the Court yesterday apply with equal force to North Carolina, mandating a reversal of the redistricting plans adopted here,” said Reverend Dr. William J. Barber, II.
When the North Carolina redistricting proposal was introduced and enacted, the NC NAACP, through its lawyers and partners, provided legislators with legal opinions which track yesterday’s Supreme Court decision. “As a result, they knew or should have known that their redistricting proposal violated the Voting Rights Act and the federal constitution,” said Irving Joyner, NC NAACP Legal Redress Chair and Professor at NCCU School of Law. “Despite this information, these legislators chose to ignore the law, as it existed at that point, for the sole purpose of undermining the political voice of African-Americans and other racial minorities.
Their redistricting plans, which involved the State Senate, House of Representatives, and Congress, were a part of the same national political agenda and strategy which extremist legislators have sought to impose in other States as occurred in North Carolina and Alabama. The imposition of this extremist agenda has resulted in the illegal elections of legislative officials who have eagerly sought to impose other extremists political policies upon North Carolina citizens. The NC NAACP will continue to fight against these actions in the courts, the legislative parlors and in the streets.”
Rev. Dr. Barber also explained that “this opinion in the Alabama case is a vindication for all of us who have been saying for a long time that divisive racial gerrymandering, which seeks to isolate black voters and destroy effective cross-racial coalitions, is unconstitutional.”
Even the dissenting Justices acknowledged in the opinion that “[r]acial gerrymandering strikes at the heart of our democratic process, undermining the electorate’s confidence in its government as representative of a cohesive body politic in which all citizens are equal before the law.” Indeed, not a single Justice endorsed what the State of Alabama did in this case.
The Supreme Court also held that splitting precincts and dividing communities of interest are indicators that race predominated in the redistricting process. The unjust North Carolina redistricting plans in place now divide more precincts than any plans in the state’s history.
The North Carolina NAACP’s petition for certiorari seeking review of the North Carolina redistricting plans is captioned Dickson v. Rucho, Case No. 14-839, and is scheduled to be conferenced by the Court on April 17, 2015.
By M. Kita Williams – Civilrightsagenda.com
In two days, 16 states which will help determine the outcome of our nation’s Congressional seats via mid-term elections on November 3rd , will finalize acceptance of voter registration applications either by mail, fax, in person, or online.
The listing of states shown above offer links to each state’s respective rules to register according to the Democratic National Committee’s voter registration information site, www.iwillvote.com.
EACH STATE’S RULES VARY.
For example, in Arizona voter registration forms must be delivered either in person to local election officials (see details) , or by mail postmarked no later than 10/6/14, or submitted online by MONDAY, OCTOBER 6TH.
However in Florida, ONLINE voter registration applications are NOT accepted. Voter registration forms must be “postmarked or hand-delivered to your local Supervisor of Elections no later than October 6, 2014 (29 days before Election Day)”. (see details)
Many states do offer early voting options and polling locations to registered voters. It is recommended that voters take full advantage of these opportunities to vote early – if offered in your state.
NAACP WINS MAJOR EARLY VOTING VICTORY IN OHIO
A federal judge ruled that a law cutting early voting in Ohio is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced for the Nov. 2014 election. The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by the NAACP Ohio State Conference, the American Civil Liberties Union, several black churches and other coalition partners. The law would have cut back the early voting period from 35 days before the election to 28 days, eliminated evening voting and voting on the Sunday before Election Day.
From Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO:
Early voting is not a social luxury, it’s a civic essential—particularly for citizens working long hours on the job or in the home. This ruling will restore access to the ballot box for thousands of Ohioans during the midterm election. If these cuts had been allowed to remain in place, many voters would have lost a critical opportunity to participate in our democratic process. Voting is the foundation of our democracy and its imperative that citizens of every race, color and creed have unfettered access to the ballot box.
Jotaka Eaddy, Senior Advisor to President and CEO and Senior Director of Voting Rights at the NAACP:
Expanding opportunities to vote, builds a stronger democracy. To deny thousands of Ohio residents, who have demanding work schedules, childcare obligations and other responsibilities an opportunity to vote would be a tragedy. Cuts like these disproportionately harm low-income Americans and communities of color.
Sybil Edwards-McNabb, President of the NAACP Ohio State Conference:
This important ruling and historic victory on the part of the NAACP enables Ohio residents to once again register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day. It also restores evening early voting, as well as voting on several Sundays. The Ohio State Conference is proud of this victory and our work with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio to reverse these early voting cuts. This triumph will surely encourage Ohioans across the state to take full advantage of the voting process and significantly increase voter turnout.
Read the ruling here.
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