Alaska sued the U.S. claiming the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional because it creates “significant, ongoing administrative burdens” and isn’t warranted based on the state’s voting rights history. Alaska said the law’s preclearance requirement creates uncertainty and delay and “places Alaska’s elections at the mercy of Department of Justice attorneys,” according to a complaint filed today in federal court in Washington. The law intrudes on the state’s sovereignty without evidence Alaska discriminates against minority voters, the complaint alleges. “Section 5’s preclearance requirement denies Alaska the flexibility and autonomy necessary to run its elections in a manner that best accounts for local conditions and circumstances,” the state said in the lawsuit.
Alaska is among at least six states or jurisdictions challenging continued enforcement of the 1965 law meant to prevent voting discrimination based on race or color. Alaska became one of 16 states or jurisdictions covered by the law when it was extended in 1975 to include language minorities. The U.S. Supreme Court may decide in October whether to hear a challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act brought by Shelby County, Alabama.