Voting Rights Act

A civil rights group challenges Alabama's practice of electing appellate judges by statewide vote.  Officials with the NAACP’s Alabama Chapter say the practice has resulted in all-white courts in a state where one of every four people is African-American.

The chapter and four black voters sued the state in Montgomery federal court today.  They argue electing judges through at-large elections in Alabama violates the Voting Rights Act.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s effort to have his ethics charges dismissed has been thrown out by a federal judge.

Yesterday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Harold Allbritton issued an order dismissing Moore’s lawsuit against the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission. Alabama’s chief justice is facing ethics charges that could result in his removal from office, and Judge Allbritton says that state process should continue without federal interference.

A Senate committee is debating a proposal to have Alabama join multi-state lottery games like Mega-Millions and Powerball.

The bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Trip Pittman of Montrose wants the state join the multi-state games instead of creating its own lottery scheme. The bill is an alternative proposal to other lottery bills that have stalled because of a lack of consensus over the details.

If approved by lawmakers, voters would have the final say on whether lottery ticket sales will be allowed in the state.

The fight over political redistricting in Alabama is headed back to federal court.

A three-judge panel will hear arguments later today in Montgomery over whether legislators relied too much on race when they drew legislative district lines.

Alabama legislators believe a second special session is inevitable.

Lawamkers are deadlocked on how to fill a more than $200 million budget shortfall.

Lawmakers are at the halfway point of the session and have yet to pass a major revenue bill in either chamber.

Gov. Robert Bentley says funding cuts passed by the House of Representatives are unworkable. He says lawmakers must keep working to a find a solution.

Last night, the Alabama House of Representatives approved a dramatic cut to Medicaid as lawmakers try to balance the General Fund budget.

Legislators in the House approved the $156 million dollar Medicaid cut on a second vote yesterday. The first vote failed.

Immediately afterward, the House passed its version of a General Fund budget. Funding for public health, prisons, mental health, human resources and the state’s courts would be unchanged. All other state agencies would see a 5.5% reduction in their operating budgets.

It was one year ago when the US Supreme Court struck down a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  That section required federal approval for voting changes in states with a history of racial discrimination, mostly in the south.  And after the Supreme Court acted, many of those states rushed to enact laws requiring photo identification to vote, including here in Alabama. The state reported few problems during this month’s primary election.  Critics of voter photo ID say they’re waiting for the November election when more voters show up at the polls.

The companies behind the movie "Selma" say principal photography has begun and the movie is being shot in Atlanta and in Selma and Montgomery in Alabama.

"Selma" is the story of Martin Luther King Jr.'s voting rights struggle that culminated with the march from Selma to Montgomery and enactment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, Brad Grey, says the story will resonate with those involved in the voting rights struggle with King and with those who continue to fight against discrimination in voting.

Supporters of the federal Voting Rights Act are planning a series of events across Alabama to highlight the importance of the law.

   Activities are being held in Selma, Huntsville, Montgomery, Birmingham and other cities on Tuesday in conjunction with what organizers are calling "National Voting Rights Day."

   The Supreme Court recently overturned a key section of the law, and activists are trying to draw attention to their claims that the act is still needed.

Two estranged leaders of Alabama's Democratic Party are united in their criticism of a Supreme Court decision on voting rights.

   Both Alabama Democratic Conference leader Joe Reed and former party chairman Mark Kennedy say they'll do what they can to fight the decision released Tuesday.

   A majority of the justices sided with Republican-controlled Shelby County in ruling that a key part of the 1965 law can't be enforced without new congressional action.

The board of the Alabama Public Historical Sites and Parks Improvement Corporation has authorized $1.2 million in bond money for a landmark voting rights center in the capitol city.

A new facility at Alabama State University will be home to the last stop on the route memorialized as the Voting Rights Trail, officials said Tuesday.

Finance Director Marquita Davis told Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey and House Speaker Mike Hubbard the center had been funded in 2001, but the project didn't get off the ground.

Ryan Vasquez

All year long here on Alabama Public Radio, we’re looking at the 50th anniversary of some of the pivotal moments in the Civil Rights Era. Times of have changed for the better since 1963, but have they changed so much that we can move on from laws meant to protect minorities. Shelby County is challenging a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 saying it’s no longer needed. Today Mason Davis is an accomplished lawyer in Birmingham, but in 1958 he was just a young law student trying to register to vote in Alabama.

Adam Jones / Wikimedia Commons

A two-day bus tour to support the Voting Rights Act kicks off Tuesday morning in Jackson, Miss., and wraps up Wednesday afternoon in Montgomery, Ala.

Vice President Joe Biden said nothing shaped his consciousness more than seeing TV footage of voting rights marchers being beaten by state troopers on Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965.

Biden traveled to Selma on Sunday to participate in the Bridge Crossing Jubilee. The event commemorates the 1965 march, which prompted Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act and add millions of African-Americans to Southern voter rolls. / Wikimedia Commons

The Supreme Court says it will consider eliminating the government's chief weapon against racial discrimination at polling places since the 1960s.

Acting three days after the election, the justices are agreeing Friday to hear a constitutional challenge to the part of the landmark Voting Rights Act that requires all or parts of 16 states with a history of discrimination in voting to get federal approval before making any changes in the way they hold elections.

Alabama Asks Court To Back Its Redistricting Plan

Jul 26, 2012
ryanjreilly / Flickr

Alabama is asking a federal court to rule that its redistricting plan for the state Legislature does not violate the Voting Rights Act.

The state filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking a declaratory judgment that the plan does not deny or abridge the right to vote based on race or color.