Posted: January 27, 2011
June arrived with two election law cases at the Supreme Court. One is still pending: a highly anticipated decision on section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The other, more frequently overlooked, was decided yesterday. And there are some quirks of the opinion that seem to depart from the swiftly congealing conventional wisdom that the states might actually have "won," and now need only run out the clock.
Professor Michelle Alexander was quoted in an Athens Banner-Herald article from her book "The New Jim Crow." The article focuses on the disenfranchisement of felons in states like Virginia, where more than seven percent of the adult population cannot vote due to felony charges. In Virginia, Gov. Robert McDonnell is taking steps to restore the right to vote to nonviolent felons.
Alexander's book calls on the idea that disenfranchising felons affects minorities most. She calls voting-rights restoration processes a “bureaucratic maze” that is “cumbersome, confusing and onerous.”
In a 7-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that the NVRA preempts an Arizona law requiring documentation of citizenship to accompany voter registration forms. The case is Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.