Protecting Minority Voters: Our Work is Not Done

New Report Shows Continued Pattern of Voting Rights Discrimination—African American, Latino, Asian American and Native American Voters More Vulnerable Than Ever

On the anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act and a year after the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v Holder decision gutted a vital protection of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the National Commission on Voting Rights has released a new report showing where and how minority voters continue to be harmed by racial discrimination in voting. The report, Protecting Minority Voters: Our Work is Not Done, challenges the Court’s rationale that improvements in minority citizens’ rates of voting and voter registration and the success of minority candidates indicated that the coverage formula protecting minority voters was unconstitutionally outdated.

Among the Report Findings Between 1995–2014:

  • Voting discrimination is a frequent and ongoing problem in the United States. There were about 332 successful voting rights lawsuits and denials of Section 5 preclearance by the U.S. Department of Justice and another ten non-litigation settlements.
  • Formerly covered states in the South and Southwest stand out with some of worst records of voting discrimination–with Texas being at the top of the list. Texas stands out as having a remarkably high level of documented voting discrimination, including multiple state-level violations. And the States of Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina were not far behind.
  • From this report, we can also see that voting discrimination takes a variety of forms. Discriminatory redistricting plans and at-large elections continue to prompt the most successful lawsuits under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. However, there were also 48 successful lawsuits and ten non-litigation settlements relating to language translation and assistance.

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Hearing Summaries

With the support of a broad-based coalition of national, state and community-based organizations, the National Commission on Voting Rights conducted twenty-five state and regional hearings across the country, where we heard from hundreds of voters, grassroots activists, state and local advocates, and experts on the wide range of issues impacting voters today.

The following summaries represent some examples of discriminatory voting practices that were shared at the hearing. Additional testimony related to election administration specific issues will be released this fall along with the Commission’s second report.

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