February 26, 2020         
“The 51st NAACP Image Awards” Illuminated the Airwaves With Black Excellence and Lit Up the Ratings With 1.8 Million   •   Columbus Crew SC Announces Founding Partnership With OhioHealth and Naming Rights for Future Training Facility   •   Skechers Collaborates With Goodyear on Footwear   •   Ten Female Entrepreneurs Chosen to Participate in Inaugural WomanMade Expo West Challenge with $100,000 in Business Grants at St   •   Métis Nation of Alberta Locals Rally to Protect Métis Rights and Claims   •   Established Email Marketing Company, Site Impact, Appoints First Female President   •   Knights of Columbus Goes "Into the Breach" to Help Men's Spirituality   •   RTW Retailwinds, Inc. Announces Multi-Year Partnership with Salesforce for Ecommerce Platform Relaunch   •   CIBC to recognize International Women's Day by hosting national financial seminars   •   Graham Media Group and WPLG Strengthen Newsrooms in Fight Against Misinformation   •   The Momgeni Jacket, the Practical and Stylish Wellness Jacket with Childcare Features, Designed to Make Life Easier for Moms, La   •   A Decade of Progress: Multiple Perspectives, Diverse Backgrounds and Community Giving Propel Lincoln Into 2020   •   Express, Inc. Announces Earnings Release Date, Conference Call and Webcast for Fourth Quarter 2019 Results   •   GUESS?, Inc. Announces the Return of Global Music Superstar J Balvin With Spring 2020 GUESS x J Balvin Colores Capsule Collectio   •   GlobalMed to Unveil Enhanced Virtual Health Platform and New Delivery Systems at HIMSS20   •   Naming 'Toxic 100' air polluters, United Church of Christ calls for action   •   2 For Seder Puts Power in Hands of Individuals to Fight Anti-Semitism   •   Corporate Social Responsibility Related News Releases and Story Ideas for Reporters, Bloggers and Media Outlets   •   Assembled Brands Finances Acquisition of QALO by Holding Company Win Brands Group   •   OSV Hosts Church in Crisis Conference
Bookmark and Share

ACLU: GA Voter Registration Procedures Discriminate And Should Be Permanently Blocked


ATLANTA – A coalition of civil rights groups argued before a federal court in Atlanta that Georgia’s citizenship voter-verification procedures discriminate against minorities and should be permanently blocked absent federal preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Under the procedures, U.S. citizens from minority communities were incorrectly flagged as non-citizens and prevented from registering to vote.

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act requires jurisdictions with a history of discrimination in voting to obtain federal approval before implementing any changes in their practices or procedures affecting voting.

The civil rights coalition includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), Georgia attorney Brian Spears and the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. The coalition represents Cherokee County resident Jose Morales, the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials and the Center for Pan Asian Community Services.

“There is no doubt that racial and language minorities in Georgia would be subject to discrimination in voting if these voter-verification procedures were allowed to be implemented again,” said Laughlin McDonald, Director of the ACLU Voting Rights Project. “We have already seen that during the short time they were in effect, U.S. citizens were unlawfully prevented from registering.”

The contested voter-registration procedures flag certain voter-registration applicants and some types of already-registered voters as non-citizens based on records from the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS). The records, however, contain out-of-date citizenship information because DDS fails to update them to reflect the thousands of Georgia residents who become U.S. citizens each year. The state’s own data has shown that the procedures have incorrectly flagged thousands of Georgia citizens who submitted voter-registration applications as non-citizens.

“These flawed procedures would burden or deny the right to vote to many thousands of eligible Georgia voters,” said Robert A. Kengle, an attorney with the Voting Rights Project of the Lawyers’ Committee, who argued the case today. “These procedures should be permanently blocked.”

The coalition filed a lawsuit challenging the voting procedures in October 2008 after a number of U.S. citizens had been incorrectly flagged as non-citizens. Those who were flagged were denied the right to vote unless they presented written evidence of citizenship.

A federal court in Atlanta issued a preliminary block on the procedures on October 27, 2008, because the Georgia Secretary of State implemented the measures without obtaining Section 5 preclearance.

In May 2009, after Georgia finally submitted the procedures for Section 5 review, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) found that the state failed to prove that they did not have a discriminatory effect on minority voters and refused to preclear them.

“Georgia’s discriminatory voter-identification measures primarily affect racial minorities,” said Nina Perales, an attorney with MALDEF. “The state’s attempt to disenfranchise minority U.S. citizens didn’t make it past the Department of Justice and it won’t hold up in court either.”

Despite DOJ’s findings, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has announced that he intends to file a lawsuit in Washington, D.C. seeking court preclearance of the flawed voter-registration practices.

“The question before the court here in Georgia today is simply whether these procedures should be permanently enjoined,” said Kengle. “But Georgia has failed repeatedly to prove to the Department of Justice that these procedures were non-discriminatory, and we are confident that the federal court in the District of Columbia would find them discriminatory as well.”

Attorneys on the case, Morales et al. v. Kemp et al., include McDonald and Meredith Bell-Platts of the ACLU Voting Rights Project, Kengle, Jon Greenbaum and Mark A. Posner of the Lawyers’ Committee, Perales of MALDEF, Brian Spears of the Law Office of Brian Spears and Jason S. Pielemeier and Young K. Lee of Debevoise & Plimpton.

The coalition’s supplemental brief for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division can be found online at: www.aclu.org/voting-rights/morales-v-kemp-supplemental-brief

The coalition’s complaint can be found online at:www.aclu.org/votingrights/access/39714lgl20090310.html

Civil Rights Division Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King’s letter blocking the procedures can be found online at:www.aclu.org/votingrights/access/39715res20090529.html

 



Back to top
| Back to home page
Video

White House Live Stream
LIVE VIDEO EVERY SATURDAY
alsharpton Rev. Al Sharpton
9 to 11 am EST
jjackson Rev. Jesse Jackson
10 to noon CST


Video

LIVE BROADCASTS
Sounds Make the News ®
WAOK-Urban
Atlanta - WAOK-Urban
KPFA-Progressive
Berkley / San Francisco - KPFA-Progressive
WVON-Urban
Chicago - WVON-Urban
KJLH - Urban
Los Angeles - KJLH - Urban
WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
New York - WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
WADO-Spanish
New York - WADO-Spanish
WBAI - Progressive
New York - WBAI - Progressive
WOL-Urban
Washington - WOL-Urban

Listen to United Natiosns News