The latest effort to ease restrictions on voting through litigation is a challenge to Mississippi's requirement that naturalized citizens show proof of their citizenship when they register.
The lawsuit, filed Monday by the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, says the law is unconstitutional because it violates of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause by treating one category of citizens differently from another. People born in the United States need only check a box on the state's registration form attesting they are citizens.
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which helped bring the suit, says Mississippi is the only state with a unique mandate for would-be voters who were not born American citizens.
House Democrats are continuing their push for stronger voting rights protections, releasing findings this week from a series of 2019 field hearings across the country on impediments to voting.
The 144-page report released Wednesday concludes that "the fundamental right to vote is under attack" and calls for congressional action.
But the report, prepared by the Democrats on a House subcommittee with jurisdiction over elections policy, does not include any of the views of minority Republicans, who said in a separate statement that they disagree with the Democrats' conclusions.
The usual practice in Congress is to include dissenting views in all committee reports, so the breakdown of that process is further evidence of Capitol Hill's ever more harshly partisan tone in general and its recent approach to voting rights in particular.
Changes in election procedures suspected of fostering discrimination could be stopped before they're imposed on parts of the country with histories of racial discrimination, under legislation that started through Congress on Wednesday.
The party-line vote endorsing the bill in the House Judiciary Committee marked a hugely symbolic, if probably short lived, victory for advocates of enhancing the political rights and powers of minorities. It was the first formal action by Congress in the six years since the Supreme Court struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act, effectively permitting a new wave of restrictions on voting in states with histories of racial bias in conducting elections.
The legislation has 225 co-sponsors, all of them Democrats, meaning it should be guaranteed to win passage by the Democratic-majority House. That vote has not been scheduled, but once it happens there seems to be little hope for the measure to even be considered in the Republican-controlled Senate.
A 36-year-old attorney, Kat Calvin founded Spread the Vote after the 2016 election. She said the results that year convinced her that the Supreme Court's striking down of the preclearance requirements under the Voting Rights Act has led to a wave of voter suppression across the country. Her answers have been lightly edited for clarity and length.
What's the tweet-length description of your organization?
Spread The Vote helps people obtain the government-issued photo identification cards required for voting in many states.