Election Reform

Voting Rights Act

Big Win For California Voting Rights!

December 6, 2006: The California Appellate Court ruled that the California Voting Rights Act is constitutional. California Common Cause filed a friend of the court; brief on behalf of Sanchez, in the case Sanchez vs. City of Modesto brought by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.

Sanchez sued the city under the California Voting Rights Act challenging its at large voting system because it diluted minority votes. The CVRA vote dilution cause of action differs from the federal VRA version in one major way: the need to prove the possibility of creating a geographically compact majority-minority district is eliminated. So to prove a CVRA case, you need only show polarized voting and denial of a group's ability to elect candidates of its choice.

The court was asked to decide if the CVRA was unconstitutional because it was racially discriminatory. It affirmed that a state legislature may extend civil rights beyond what Congress has provided. More importantly, the court found that there is nothing facially unconstitutional (or discriminatory) about the CVRA. The case has been remanded back to the trial court.

Big kudos to our Board Member John Ulin, who filed the amicus brief for California Common Cause.

Appellate Decision
California Common Cause Amicus Brief

President Bush Signs Federal Voting Rights Act Renewal

July 27, 2006: President Bush signed legislation today, renewing the Voting Rights Act for another 25 years.
AP Article

Both the House and the Senate Vote to Reauthorize the Voting Rights Act

July 20, 2006:With a vote of 98-0, the United States Senate voted to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act for 25 more years. The Bill now moves to the President's desk, where it is expected to be signed into law.
Statement From Common Cause President Chellie Pingree
AP Article


July 13, 2006:By a vote of 390-33, the United States House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, portions of which were set to expire. The vote signalled a defeat for sourthern Congress members who had sought a relaxation of the VRA provisions that require additional elections oversight in their states. The US Senate still has to pass its version of a VRA reauthorization bill before the President can sign the bills into law.
AP Article

Key Media Stories:

Congress Urged to Renew Voting Rights Act(Errin Haines, AP, Washington Post)

Act Needs Renewal, Not Barriers(Michael Paul Williams, Richmond Times Dispatch)

Voting Rights Act Remains Pertinent(Julian Bond, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Voting Rights Act No Panacea(Star Parker, Albuquerque Tribune)

Don't Need Voting Rights Act? Who are they Kidding?(Clay Robison,Houston Chronicle)

Disarray on Voting Rights Shows Heft of GOP Fringe(Craig Hines,Houston Chronicle )

Voting Rights Law Renewal Becomes Headache for GOP(Bill Shipp, Gwinnett Daily Post)

Congress Should Get its Act Together(Eugene Kane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel )

Tinkering with Voting Rights(Clarence Page,Chicago Tribune)


Please use the following resources to help push for reauthorization of this vital civil rights legislation.