On June 22, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5, (called the preclearance provision) of the Voting Rights Act (“VRA”) in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One (“NAMUD”) v. Holder. This provision generally required that covered jurisdictions (of which Alaska is one) submit any voting changes to the Department of Justice before implementing them. The DOJ then accepts or rejects that proposed change based on whether it will negatively impact the ability of protected minorities to cast their vote. In the 8 to 1 opinion, authored by Chief Justice Roberts, the Supreme Court recognized that “[t]he historic accomplishments of the Voting Rights Act are undeniable.” The ruling also described Section 5’s critical importance in addressing voting discrimination faced by citizens throughout our country. Read more.

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