The Election Is Over, but the Voting Rights Fight Is in Full Swing

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 One of the most popular post election narratives remains that voter suppression efforts were soundly defeated. While the concept is essentially true, it says very little about how voting rights will fare in the near future—or how activists are continuing the work they began to preserve voting rights. Many voter ID measures, cut offs to early voting, and excessive voter purges were blocked or weakened at the state level in 2012, but lawmakers are aiming to propose new measures in 2013.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, has announced that it will hear a challenge to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 next year. That’s in addition to Arizona v InterTribal Council of Arizona, which stems from a rule that demands voters demonstrate proof of citizenship when registering to vote. The two cases, which hinge on the court’s interpretation of federal legislation that bars discrimination and its interpretation of what’s known as the Motor Voter Act, could make sweeping changes to the ways voting rights are—or are not—protected. Those stakes aren’t lost on community groups around the nation that hope to continue their voting rights work, even without the spotlight of a presidential election.

Last Friday morning, a coalition of community, faith-based, and civic leaders gathered together at a local North Philly pizza joint that doubles as a breakfast diner. The group has been meeting together since early this year, when it became clear that lawmakers wanted to push through a controversial voter ID measure.

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That law was temporarily halted before the general election, but the coalition is preparing to hold a major news conference this week, when it will announce how it’s going to fight to have a permanent injunction set against voter ID. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday to decide the dates for arguments.