Voting rights advocates are hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up Wisconsin’s voter ID law, one of the most stringent in the country. “There are a lot of barriers that Wisconsin’s law imposes on voters that have not been resolved,” said attorney Karyn Rotker of the ACLU of Wisconsin, which is among the groups asking the court to review the voter ID law. “We hope that the Supreme Court will make sure that voting rights are protected.” The law, passed in spring 2011 and only in effect during one low-turnout election, has had a tumultuous legal history. As it was challenged in state and federal courts, it was put on hold, then suddenly revived by a federal appeals court just before last November’s general election—and put on hold once again, this time by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The fate of Wisconsin’s voter ID law, set to take effect in one month, is pending before two federal courts, both of which have been asked to issue an emergency order halting implementation of the law. Meanwhile, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to leave the law in place for the Nov. 4 election , when voters will select Wisconsin’s next governor. On Tuesday, one day after a three-judge appeals court panel affirmed that Wisconsin’s voter ID law is constitutional, opponents including the League of United Latin American Citizens and the American Civil Liberties Union asked the full 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stop implementation of the requirement that residents show a state-issued identification or other photo ID before voting.
Harris County rejected more voter registration applications than any other Texas county and the county’s tax assessor-collector systematically targeted Hispanics and African-Americans in voting-roll purges from 2009 to 2012, the League of United Latin American Citizens and seven citizens charged in a federal lawsuit filed on Thursday. The suit alleges the county has violated the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act and the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. It also claims that Tax Assessor-Collector Don Sumners has not followed the terms of a 2009 settlement of a previous lawsuit the Democratic Party filed against the county’s voter registration procedures. “Sumners targets the Latino and black communities in his voter-purging by ZIP code,” said San Antonio attorney Luis Roberto Vera Jr., LULAC’S national general counsel.
Civil rights activists filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to block Iowa’s Republican secretary of state from enacting rules to purge foreign nationals from Iowa’s voter registration list and make it easier to file allegations of voter fraud. The American Civil Liberties Union and the League of United Latin American Citizens accused Secretary of State Matt Schultz of abusing his power in a plot to disenfranchise Latinos and other voters ahead of the presidential election in Iowa, a key battleground state. “To begin a purge of registered voters so close to the fall elections is unconscionable,” said Joseph Enriquez Henry, state director of LULAC, a Latino and Hispanic civil rights and advocacy group. “We urge Mr. Schultz to cease his political activity and to keep politics out of the elected office that he holds.”
A coalition of voting rights groups is asking Gov. Rick Scott to stop a statewide effort to purge thousands of potential non-citzens from the voting rolls, and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, also plans to ask the governor to stop the scrub. Lawyers for the groups said in a letter to Secretary of StateKen Detzner that the voting purge is in violation of the National Voting Rights Act which prohibits systematic purging of the voter rolls 90 days prior to a general election. The purge effort falls within that 90-day prohibition because of Florida’s Aug. 14 primary. Last month, Detzner sent a list of more than 2,600 potentially ineligible voters to the state’s 67 elections supervisors flagged as potentially ineligible by matching driver’s license and voting records. But the list was riddled with errors and included some voters who were born in the U.S. and others who had become citizens since getting their driver’s licenses or state-issued ID cards. Detzner’s office then went to work on scrubbing a list of up to 180,000 flagged voters whose citizenship is in question.
Texas: Minority groups: New voting maps ‘total devastation for the Latino community across Texas’ | Associated Press
Disheartened and angry over the latest Texas voting maps handed down by federal judges, Democrats and minority rights groups looked Wednesday to a separate court in Washington as their last likely hope of cutting deeper into a solid Republican majority in the 2012 elections. The GOP stands poised to hardly lose any power under the latest Texas congressional and state House maps delivered this week by a San Antonio federal court, which confronted how the state’s political boundaries should be changed with more than 3 million new Hispanic residents.