Voting Rights Victory
Submitted by Daniel Levitas
ID Restrictions Would Have Kept Voters from the Polls, Says ACLU
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2005
CONTACT: Paul Silva, ACLU, 212-549-2689 or 2666; email@example.com
ATLANTA – Less than two weeks before Election Day, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld a court decision blocking a controversial state law from taking effect that would have dramatically restricted the types of photo identification that may be used when voting.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the legal challenge with a coalition of voting rights advocates, applauded the decision.
“We are extremely pleased with today’s court decision,” said Neil Bradley, Associate Director of the Atlanta-based ACLU Voting Rights Project, and one of the attorneys in the case. “Two federal courts have now recognized the potential of this law to place an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote for thousands of Georgia voters, especially minorities, the elderly and the poor.”
Last week, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from taking effect before the upcoming elections on November 8. The court held that the plaintiffs have a substantial likelihood of succeeding on the merits of their claims that the photo ID requirement is an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote and constitutes a poll tax. The injunction will remain in place while the legal challenge continues.
Georgia’s photo ID law (H.B. 244) reduces the various forms of identification that voters can use from 17 to six, and makes government issued photo identification absolutely required in order to vote. The ACLU and a consortium of voting rights advocates and private attorneys filed the lawsuit against state and local election officials on September 19 after the U.S. Department of Justice granted preclearance to the measure. Because of Georgia’s history of voting discrimination, the 1965 Voting Rights Act requires that any changes to election laws or voting procedures receive clearance from federal officials before going into effect.
Among other complaints, the advocates charge in the lawsuit that the law violates the Voting Rights Act, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Georgia Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit asks that the court declare the law “unconstitutional, null and void.
Morris K. Udall Foundation Program
Submitted by Sunshine Woman Archambault
Center For Civic Participation
The deadline is January 31, 2006 to enroll in a program of the Morris K. Udall Foundation http://www.udall.gov/ ), the Native American Congressional Internship Program provides Native Americans and Alaska Natives withan insider's view of the federal government.
The ten-week internship in Washington, D.C., places students in Senate and House offices, committees, Cabinet departments, and the White House, where they are able to observe government decision-making processes first-hand.
In 2006, the foundation expects to award 12 internships on the basis of merit to Native Americans andAlaska Natives who are college juniors or seniors, recent graduates from tribal or four-year colleges, or graduate or law students; and have demonstrated an interest in fields related to tribal public policy, such as tribal governance, tribal law, Native American education, Native American health, Native American justice, natural resource protection, and Native American economic development.
For program guidelines and application materials, visit the MorrisK. Udall Foundation Web site.RFP Link: http://fconline.fdncenter.org/pnd/5000911/udall
For additional RFPs in Public Affairs, visit:http://fdncenter.org/pnd/rfp/cat_pub_affairs.jhtml
Indians File Voting Rights Lawsuit
Submitted by Daniel Levitas
By TOM MORTONStar-Tribune staff writer
The at-large method of electing Fremont County commissioners violates the voting rights of residents of the Wind River Indian Reservation, according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday against the five commissioners and county clerk.
So five reservation residents -- members of both the Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho tribes -- want the federal court to prohibit Fremont County commissioners from using the at-large method, and to not block an election for a redistricting plan for single-member districts, according to the complaint filed by the plaintiffs' attorneys Andrew Baldwin and Berthenia Crocker of Lander.
See the following from the Associated Press quoting ACLU Voting Rights Project attorney Bryan Sells and Scott Crichton, executive director ACLU of Montana:
Bryan Sells, staff attorney for the ACLU's Voting Rights Project in Atlanta, said Friday the ACLU already has successfully represented Indians in challenging at-large elections in Montana and South Dakota.
"I think it's undeniable that Native Americans are really becoming more interested and energized about their rights to vote. And this is part of that effort," Sells said of voting rights litigation.
NATIVE UNITY - A place for Native American Peoples to solidify their tribes to make a positive impact on the cultural, social, economic and political fabric of American society and a place for non-Natives to better understand the ways of the American Indian.
For news and information on Native American and First Nations actors, go to Annie's site at www.NativeCelebs.com and follow the threads.
American Indian Airways regularly broadcasts every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m.(Pacific Time) on KPFK FM 90.7 Los Angeles; FM 98.7 Santa Barbara; and by Internet with Real Media Player, Winamp and Itunes.