Arkansas Community Organizations, the Arkansas Poor People’s Campaign, Indivisible and other groups will rally in front of the Pulaski County Courthouse at 7 p.m. tonight to call on Congress to restore protections under the Voting Rights Act removed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The court, in a 5-4 vote June 25, 2013, removed the VRA’s provision requiring certain jurisdictions to obtain federal approval to change voting laws. The jurisdictions were those that had histories of voter discrimination.
Since the vote in Shelby County v. Holder, several Republican states that had been previously required to clear their voting laws with the federal government have passed legislation to restrict voting rights, such as voter I.D. laws passed in Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Five years after the ruling, nearly 1,000 polling places had been closed in the U.S., with many of the closed polling places in predominantly African-American counties.
Arkansas also passed a voter I.D. law, which puts a burden on low-income and elderly voters, which some Republicans have acknowledged is a scheme to remove Democratic voters from the rolls.
A Congresswoman from Alabama has introduced House Resolution 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, to restore provisions to the VRA to prevent racially discriminatory laws.
The Shine a Light on the Voting Rights Act rally will be followed by a candlelight vigil.