Federal appeals court reinstates Nevada low-income voting rights case

Federal appeals court reinstates Nevada low-income voting rights case

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Thursday reinstated [opinion, PDF] a case claiming Nevada has failed to provide voter registration services to its low-income citizens, as required under Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The district court originally dismissed plaintiffs’ complaint with prejudice for lack of both Article III and statutory standing. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that all three plaintiffs had Article III standing and should have been granted leave to amend their complaint before their case was dismissed with prejudice. Voting rights groups Demos, Project Vote, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which represented the plaintiffs, viewed the Ninth Circuit’s decision as a “victory for low-income voters in Nevada and the community groups that serve them.” The remanded case will be directed to a separate district court judge for further consideration consistent with the Ninth Circuit’s decision.

Voting rights have been a contentious issue in the US recently. In May the New Hampshire Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] a 2012 law requiring voters to be state residents, not just domiciled in the state. In March the US Supreme Court denied certiorari [JURIST report] in Frank v. Walker, allowing Wisconsin’s voter identification law to stand. Wisconsin’s Act 23, which requires residents to present photo ID to vote, was struck down by a federal district court but reinstated [JURIST reports] by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in September. Also in March Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a new law [JURIST report] that made Oregon the first state in the nation to institute automatic voter registration. In November a federal appeals court rejected [JURIST report] a Kansas rule that required prospective voters to show proof-of-citizenship documents before registering using a federal voter registration form. Also in November Illinois voters approved the Illinois Right to Vote Amendment [JURIST report] which bans all voter discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or income.