Note to the Supreme Court & Congress: Restore The Voting Rights Act Now!

Federal Court Denies Alabama Request for Redistricting

By DL White

A three Judge panel recently denied Alabama’s GOP Legislature’s request to pause the decision   struck down previously for their new congressional redistricting. 

Unrelentless, Alabama submitted a new map after the Supreme Court “blocked the previous map” this summer  “likely violating” the Voting Rights Act once again. 

Alabama is one of the seven states that were once required to have remapping of voting districts cleared by the Federal Court before going into effect (Pre-Clearance).

The evidence is clear, if there is no – pre-clearance, states (especially those with GOP Legislatures) are moving to redistrict and cut African Americans in particular and People of Color as well as special groups out of the voting bloc.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act, while passing the U.S. House of Representatives a year ago has not come up for vote in the now GOP majority House………It is well passed time for this legislation to be enacted as evidenced by the number of attempts by Republicans to block and make voting more difficult for African Americans and People of Color in general. 

The trio of Judges ruled that the new map (very much like the prior) fell short of complying with the Supreme Court’s order, advising for a court-appointed official to create the redistricting lines for 2024.

The ruling matches a decision by the North Carolina court that also denied a redistricting request. (Again confirming the need for Pre-clearance).

Ironically, when the Supreme Court  “gutted” the Voting Rights Act several years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts noted, writing in the affirmative for the Supreme Court in 2013, “Voting discrimination was no longer as severe as it was when the Voting Rights Act was first enacted in 1965……………(Clearly Chief Justice Roberts was wrong). 

Mounting evidence in the years since the decision has shown that just isn’t the case – the law is needed now more than ever, noted a statement from local Branches of the NAACP in North Carolina and Georgia.

Throwing out pre-clearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” a disgruntled Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her dissent for the court.

The Supreme Court issued one of the most consequential rulings in a generation in Shelby County vs. Holder. In a 5-4 vote, the court struck down a formula at the heart of the Voting Rights Act, the landmark 1965 law that requited certain states with a history of discrimination against minority voters to have to any requested redistricting changes cleared by the federal government before they went into effect.

We may never know the full impact of the Shelby county decision. While statewide voting changes get a lot of attention, most of the voting changes the justice department reviewed were submitted by 

Now it’s much harder to even hear about those local changes – which include polling place closures or changing the way candidates are elected – let alone stop them, said Deuel Ross, an attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) who frequently challenges voting changes in the south.

Polling place closures again came into sharp focus in the Primary and General Elections in 2018 and 2020 as voters faced long lines. Local election officials, facing a shortage of polling locations and poll workers, consolidated polling locations……. 

Years later, the law was found to be discriminatory against Black and Latin communities, and struck down again. But eventually lawmakers created a new version of the bill, SB 5, with minor adjustments, which passed in 2017 (

 Alabama would move to require a photo ID starting in 2014, Mississippi. In North Carolina, the state where a federal court previously blocked a voter ID law, Republicans are pushing a new voter ID law that has been thus far. 

In every state concerned, Civil Rights advocates have pointed out that Black and Latin voters were more likely not to have a government issued photo ID (

In 2013, Arizona Republicans implemented a new system requiring residents to show proof of US citizenship in local and state elections – a controversial restriction lambasted by civil rights advocates. 

 It is very rare that a non-citizen actually votes in the US, according to the Brennan Center, and sometimes they are registered by accident. But requiring proof of citizenship can backfire for US citizens, especially those who live in mixed immigration status households, or those who, similar to photo IDs, lack the proper documentation (

The Voting Rights Act, the landmark 1965 law that required localities with a history of discrimination against minority voters to have changes cleared by the federal government before they went into effect was diluted by the Supreme Court in 2013.

It’s hard to overstate the significance of this decision. The power of the Voting Rights Act was in the design that the Supreme Court gutted – discriminatory voting policies could be blocked before they harmed voters. 

The law placed the burden of proof on government officials to prove why the changes they were seeking were not discriminatory. Now, voters who are discriminated against must bear the burden of proving they are disenfranchised.

Immediately after the decision, Republican lawmakers in Texas and North Carolina – two states previously covered by the law – moved to enact new voter ID laws and other restrictions. A federal court would later strike down the North Carolina law, writing it was designed to target African Americans.      

Between 2012 and 2018, there were 1,688 polling place closures in states previously covered by {Section-five} of the Voting Rights Act, according to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR).

In 2015, Brian Kemp, then Georgia’s top election official, sent local election officials a memo outlining justifications for closing the polls (214 were closed in Georgia) and reminding them they no longer had to submit the changes for review to the Federal government.

“We’ve seen a lot of changes to polling places in Georgia that either would have been stopped under {Section- five} or slowed down,” noted officials from the NAACP.

Georgia and Texas would implement laws that despite long lines, penalized individuals for passing out water or allowing individuals to sit-down while waiting to vote. 

“We could rest a lot easier if in a non-Shelby world if whatever changes were going to be implemented as a result of the virus would not weigh more heavily on minority voters than they would on whites,” a member of the NAACP noted. “Now, in this kind of world we can’t have any level of trust that what election officials are doing isn’t politically motivated,” noted the NAACP Official.

Voter ID laws have long been found to disenfranchise people of color and marginalized communities, who are less likely to have the kinds of IDs states require to vote.

After the Shelby decision, Texas Republicans went to work immediately to implement SB 14, a strict voter ID bill that required that voters show one of a handful of government issued IDs to vote. Almost a return to the Jim Crow laws in the Deep South prior to passage of the Civil Rights Bill and Voting Rights Act in 1965.

Deterred and momentarily defeated, the Texas GOP lawmakers created a new version of the bill, SB 5, with minor adjustments, which passed in 2017.

While Texas Legislatures were working to making voting difficult, Alabama was not far behind implanting harsher requirements beginning in 2014, followed by Mississippi. 

In North Carolina, the state where a federal court previously blocked a voter ID law, Republicans are pushing new voter ID laws. 

Requiring proof of citizenship to vote, however, is an increasingly popular stance for Republican lawmakers. Last year, Texas to question the citizenship status of 100,000 registered voters, before admitting its claim was based on false data. 

The measure was estimated to have affected 30,000 people. Conversely, it is very rare that a non-citizens vote in any US election, according to the Brennan Center, and sometimes they are registered by accident. However, once presenting at the Polls the error is discovered and individuals are advised of the error (

Danny L. White  currently lives in Phoenix, AZ.  He is the author and creative lead for the Sensational letter “S”, a children’s book focused on early reading comprehension and word development. He is also a Adjunct faculty member at Maricopa College, and staff reporter for the Arizona Informant.  He is an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc, in Phoenix.

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