In aftermath of Supreme Court ruling, NASW urging members to work to restore voters’ rights

Jul 2, 2013

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is concerned a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision could be a major setback to voters’ rights and voter protections.

NASW urges the U.S. Congress to pass laws to restore voter protections and is asking its 140,000 members to work with grassroots organizations to preserve voting rights. In addition, NASW is part of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 civil rights and labor organizations that is pushing to keep voting rights protections intact.

The Supreme Court on June 25 ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is unconstitutional for purposes of identifying the jurisdictions that must submit voting changes for federal review before they can be implemented.

That court’s ruling also makes Section 5 of the law, or pre-clearance, ineffective unless Congress enacts a new formula. Under pre-clearance states affected by VRA must have voting law changes approved by the U.S. Justice Department or a federal court in Washington, D.C.

The Supreme Court ruling could lead to many discriminatory voter suppression laws in states that have histories of voting rights violations. Texas has already said it will enact a voter I.D. law that had been blocked by Section 5.  Photo I.D. laws passed by Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia, which did not get pre-clearance, can also go into effect.

Voters’ rights are a priority social justice concern for NASW. The association has a long history of advocacy on this issue. Past NASW President Whitney M. Young Jr., one of the nation’s key civil rights leaders, fought for and eventually won passage of the Voters Rights Act of 1965.

To learn more about NASW activities to support voters’ rights contact Melvin H. Wilson, manager of NASW’s Department of Social Justice and Human Rights, at

You should also follow the latest developments on voting rights at these organizations:

Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights

Brennan Center for Justice

NAACP-Legal Defense Fund

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