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  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          Contact: Kelly Ceballos

    www.lwv.org                                                                            202-263-1331

    November 9, 2012                                                                  kceballos@lwv.org

     

    Supreme Court Set to Review Voting Rights Act

    Statement by Elisabeth MacNamara, National President of the League of Women Voters

     Washington, D.C. – Today, the Supreme Court decided to review the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act.  In a week when American democracy was on display for all the world, this action by the Court is a huge step in the wrong direction. 

    The Voting Rights Act is an essential part of American democracy.  The thought that the Supreme Court might overrule Congress and take away voting rights should send a chill down the spine of every American.

    The Voting Rights Act ensures that every American has an equal right to vote.  With the problems in our election system exposed once again this week, the Supreme Court should be enforcing voting rights, not taking them away.

    Contact Kelly Ceballos at kceballos@lwv.org to find out more or to schedule an interview.

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    Like” the League on Facebook.   Follow us on Twitter: @LWV.

    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.  VOTE411.org is the place to go for the election information you need.

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  • Editorial Note: This blog post was originally published on my Huffington Post blog

  • Today, South Carolina voters were the victorious when a U.S. Federal District Court blocked implementation of the state’s new voter photo identification law for the November 6th general election.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 10, 2012

     

    CONTACTS:        Barbara Zia (LWV SC)/ 803/251/2726

                              ziab1@comcast.net

                              Kelly Ceballos (LWV US)/ 202 263 1331

                              KCeballos@lwv.org


      THREE-JUDGE PANEL BLOCKS SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER PHOTO ID LAW FOR 2012

     Court Decision Based on Expansive Interpretation of Law

     Today, a U.S. Federal District Court blocked implementation of South Carolina’s new voter photo identification law for the November 6th general election, giving South Carolina voters a big victory.  

    The federal three-judge panel approved the law for elections thereafter, but did so under an expansive interpretation of the law.  Specifically, in future elections, voters who do not have a required form of photo ID will still be able to vote so long as they sign an affidavit stating the reason for not having obtained a photo ID.

    “We are pleased that this court has applied common sense and blocked the state of South Carolina from requiring photo ID from all eligible voters on November 6th.  We believe it would have caused too much confusion at the polls for voters and poll workers alike,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. (LWVUS).  “In addition, the court has interpreted the law in such a way that voters will not absolutely be required to show a photo ID in order to vote in later elections, in 2013 and beyond. This is a victory for voting rights.”

    The League in South Carolina and other states around the country will continue to fight against restrictive voting laws. “We are cautiously optimistic about today’s decision,” stated Barbara Zia, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina.  “Voting is the one time all citizens have an equal say in molding our collective future here in South Carolina and across this great country. Barriers such as photo ID threaten that equality.  We will work to ensure that the law is applied fairly and let voters know that a photo ID is not required in 2012.”

    “Politicians should not be allowed to manipulate election laws for their own personal gain. It is time for us to move beyond the rhetoric and work to pass laws that will ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote can vote and will have their vote counted without any barriers. Nothing less than protecting America’s great democracy is at stake,” concluded Zia.

    Originally, the Department of Justice (DOJ) denied preclearance to South Carolina’s restrictive photo voter ID law. The League of Women Voters of South Carolina (LWVSC) joined the lawsuit in support of the DOJ decision.

     


     

     

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    Photo ID Will Not Be Required to Vote on November 6, 2012

    Washington, DC [Oct. 2, 2012] - Today is good day for democracy with yet another victory for voting rights. A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge ruled that photo ID will not be required at the polls on November 6th.  

    “This is an important victory for all Pennsylvanians,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, national League President.  “A significant barrier to voting has been removed for this important general election.”

    “Hundreds of thousands of eligible voters will now have access to the polls without any unnecessary barriers,” said Olivia Thorne, PA State League President. “Now we can focus our work on registering and informing the state’s voters.”

    “The League of Women Voters throughout Pennsylvania will continue registering voters until the deadline on October 9th,” said Thorne.  “In the few weeks that remain between today and Election Day, it will be important that all voters and the election workforce realize that photo ID is not required to vote on November 6th.  We urge everyone with computer access to visit SmartVoter.org, our online Voters Guide, to learn more about the candidates running for office and who they can vote for in this coming election. ”

    “We live in the world’s greatest democracy and our voting systems should remain free, fair and accessible. Today’s decision helps us guarantee that right for all voters,” concluded MacNamara.

    CONTACT: Kelly Ceballos, 202-263-1331, KCeballos@lwv.org

  • Today, a judge in Pennsylvania ruled in favor of the recently passed voter photo identification law, and not to grant an injunction to prevent it from being implemented.

  • League of Women Voters Lawsuit unsuccessful in halting voter ID law

    WASHINGTON, DC (August 15, 2012) - Today, in spite of strong testimony and the failure of state officials to provide any evidence of voter fraud by impersonation, the lawsuit brought by American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania in which the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania was the lead organizational plaintiff, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania upheld the state’s photo identification law passed earlier this year. The League of Women Voters is appalled by this decision. This is the first time in recent months that voting rights groups have been unsuccessful in blocking implementation of these voter suppression laws. The states that have halted voter ID laws include Texas, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.

    “We are disappointed that the Pennsylvania court has upheld this voter suppression law. Recently, when similar laws in other states have been reviewed by a court or the U.S. Department of Justice they have been deemed to be discriminatory, and we believe this to be the case in Pennsylvania,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the United States.

    “We are dismayed with the decision of the court. The League is discouraged but undaunted. It’s a sad day for citizens when political rhetoric wins over democracy. We will continue to work to educate voters about voter identification requirements and help people get a photo ID while we await the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision. All who read the testimony or were present in the courtroom were moved by the compelling stories of witnesses who shared the impact of this law on our most precious right to vote. As many as 1.2 million eligible voters could be disenfranchised in November’s election if the Supreme Court allows Judge Simpson’s ruling to stand. The erosion of one person’s right to vote impacts each of us” said Olivia Thorne, President of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania.

    “Time and time again these laws have been found to be illegal. It is time to realize that these voter suppression laws cannot and should not be enacted in any state; they are legally and morally unjustifiable. It is time for us to move beyond the rhetoric and work to pass new laws that will ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote can vote and will have their vote counted without any undue barriers. Nothing less than our democracy is at stake,” concluded MacNamara.

    It is expected that today’s decision will be appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

     

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