- The Justice Department announced that it has reached an agreement with Connecticut and state officials to resolve claims that the state failed to provide voter registration opportunities required by Section 5 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).
- Head of the Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, highlighting the impact of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder on the division’s voting rights work and recent court decisions against discriminatory voting laws in North Carolina (by the Fourth Circuit) and Texas (by the Fifth Circuit). As our country celebrates the 51st anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act this week, she emphasized the collective role that all of us must play in safeguarding the right to vote: “The Founders in Philadelphia, activists at Seneca Falls, N.Y., and marchers in Selma, Ala., all recognized the profound power of the franchise. When we allow discrimination to infect our elections, we disrespect the sacrifices of those who came before us and threaten the progress they achieved. But when we protect the rights of our fellow voters to make their choices, whatever they may be and whomever they may be for, we do our part to build our more perfect union. That means Congress needs to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. State legislatures need to remove unjustified voting rules. Poll workers need to oversee fair elections. And eligible Americans need to vote.”
- The Justice Department filed a complaint in the Southern District of Texas alleging that Harris County, Texas, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide accessible polling places for voters with disabilities. Many polling places in Harris County have architectural barriers – such as steep ramps and narrow doors – that make them inaccessible to voters who use wheelchairs or have mobility impairments, or voters who are blind or have vision impairments.
Updated December 28, 2016