NALEO Educational Fund is a leading advocate of policies which protect Latino access to the ballot box. We play a key leadership role in the effort to modernize the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA) in the wake of the June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision Shelby County v. Holder which significantly weakened one of the most effective civil rights laws of the 20th century. NALEO Educational Fund also works to promote state election practices and procedures which provide greater opportunities for Latino political participation and representation.
The Voting Rights Act: Since its enactment in 1965, and its expansion to protect Latino and other language minority voters in 1975, the VRA has altered the landscape of American elections. Where voter tests and qualifications such as poll taxes and English literacy tests were once widespread, the use of such tactics has subsided, and many jurisdictions now provide effective language assistance to Latino U.S. citizens who are not yet fully fluent in English. Members of historically underrepresented communities now register, vote and run successfully for office in far greater numbers than they did before the VRA.
Unfortunately, the VRA’s work is not yet finished. Nearly fifty years after its enactment, cities and states continue to devise election laws and policies that unfairly deny or impair the voting rights of Latinos, Americans not yet proficient in English, and other underrepresented groups.
NALEO Educational Fund is vigorously advocating for legislation to restore the VRA and ensure that it continues to prevent discrimination in voting from taking root.
The Future of California Elections: NALEO Educational Fund actively works with the “Future of California Elections” collaborative to articulate and promote changes that will make California’s democracy more inclusive and accountable. Together with other civic organizations, voting rights advocates and election officials, we work to promote improvements in the election practices of the state of its localities. Our priorities include enhancing the implementation of on-line voter registration; disseminating information about best practices for providing language assistance to Latino citizens during registration and voting; and ensuring that government agencies provide better access to voter registration services.