The chief legal counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is applauding Gov. Rick Perry for signing into law the interim voting maps, but said not having a Voting Rights Act leaves minority communities vulnerable. This week the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. Nina Perales is the chief legal counsel for the MALDEF and said the supreme court has taken away a tool for fair and equitable state voting maps. “While the supreme court didn’t strike down all of the Voting Rights Act, it invalidated the most important tool, which allowed us to fight discrimination and which had been recently re-authorized by Congress in 2006 by a wide bipartisan margin,” Perales said.
A school district in southeastern Los Angeles County is illegally diluting the voting clout of Latinos and barring them from elective office by using an at-large electoral system for school board races, according to a lawsuit filed this week. No Latino has been elected to the seven-member board in the ABC Unified School District since 1997, although the ethnic group makes up nearly one-fourth of adults of voting age, according to the lawsuit filed by MALDEF, a leading Latino legal civil rights organization, and the Los Angeles law firm of Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho. The district encompasses 30 schools in Artesia, Cerritos, Hawaiian Gardens and portions of Lakewood, Long Beach and Norwalk. Its students are 42% Latino, 26% Asian, 11% Filipino, 10% African American, 7% white and 1% native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.
Arizona: Voter-ID Law Gets Temporary Pass From U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy | Phoenix News
In April, the U.S. Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a portion of Arizona’s voter-approved voter-ID law, intended to keep non-citizens from voting. Because of that ruling, Arizona was supposed to stop enforcing the law. But a new order by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy permits the law to go into effect — for the time being. Kennedy’s order comes in response to Arizona Solictor General David Cole’s motion on Wednesday that sought a stay to the Ninth Circuit’s ruling.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has struck down Arizona’s 2004 voter-approved requirement that residents show proof of citizenship when they register to vote — at least on federal registration forms. The state can still require proof from voters submitting a state registration form, which is typically the form voters get from their county recorder’s offices and through the Motor Vehicle Division’s website. The 11-judge “en banc” appeals-court panel on Tuesday upheld the portion of the law requiring voters to show identification at the polls. Attorney General Tom Horne said he would appeal the portion of the law the panel overturned to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Sandra S. Ikuta, who wrote in the majority opinion, said the Constitution requires the court to “safeguard” certain federal powers, including regulating federal elections. Among its provisions, the National Voter Registration Act creates a standard federal registration form that all states must accept. It requires applicants to sign a statement that they are citizens, but it does not require them to show proof.
Arizona has racially polarized voting and discriminated against Latinos, but a voter identification law did not disenfranchise Hispanics, a Court of Appeals ruled. A 12-member panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a law that required voters to show ID before casting their ballots, ruling it didn’t give Latinos less opportunity to vote. The court, however, struck down a critical provision of the law, known as Proposition 200, that required that voters to show proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote in federal elections. The court ruled the federal National Voter Registration Act trumps that section of the Arizona law. MALDEF, a Latino civil rights organization, one of the organizations that challenged the 2004 law, hailed the decision.
Arizona: Appeals court upholds Arizona’s requirement that people show identification before they can vote | AP/The Republic
An appeals court upheld a requirement in a 2004 Arizona law that voters show identification before they can cast ballots. The court says there wasn’t evidence that the mandate disparately affected Latinos as the challengers of rules had alleged. A 12-member panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals says in a ruling Tuesday that there was evidence Arizona has racially polarized voting and a history of discrimination against Latinos.
The Texas attorney general announced both parties reached a compromise map in the Texas redistricting case today — hours before the court-mandated deadline to keep the April 3 primary. But the majority of the plaintiffs say there’s no compromise yet, and a federal court in San Antonio suggested it agrees. Texas will pick up four House seats in 2012 because of population growth, mostly in the Hispanic community. Lone Star State GOP lawmakers passed an aggressive new Congressional map last year, but the plan has been stuck in court as the state seeks pre-clearance approval under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. State Attorney General Greg Abbott’s alleged compromise map is somewhat similar to the plan passed by the Texas GOP Legislature last year but includes an additional Hispanic-majority seat in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Monday, Feb. 6. That’s the deadline set by the San Antonio redistricting panel for all parties to agree on interim House, Senate and Congressional maps, or they’ll miss the deadline for the April 3 primary. But what will the minority voting rights groups want from those maps, and can they stay on the same page? There were rumors floating around all weekend that there could be a deal struck as early as today, but with all parties heading to DC to catch closing arguments in the preclearance hearing tomorrow, Jan. 31, that seems unlikely. The Mexican American Legislative Caucus told the Chronicle this morning that a deal is not imminent, even though they are all working towards some kind of agreement.
New Mexico: Judge limits investigation of immigrant driver’s-license holders | The Santa Fe New Mexican
A judge is allowing Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration to move ahead with a limited investigation to determine whether some immigrants with New Mexico driver’s licenses still live in the state.
District Judge Sarah Singleton on Tuesday decided that some residency checks can continue, although she’s putting on hold the administration’s broad plan for potentially certifying the licenses of tens of thousands of foreign nationals, including those living illegally in the country. The judge said she will issue an injunction to block the program pending the outcome of a lawsuit brought by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.