The ACLU of Alaska and the Native American Rights Fund have long protected the right of all Alaskans to vote, including those who are not comfortable with or capable of voting in English. In February 2010, Alaska settled Nick v. Bethel, a federal lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Alaska and the Native American Rights Fund that challenged Alaska’s failure to provide Yup’ik ballots in the Bethel Census Area.
A little over two years after the settlement in Nick v. Bethel, Alaska sued to overturn the federal Voting Rights Act, the very law that required it to provide non-English ballots. The ACLU of Alaska and the Native American Rights Fund represent individuals who will suffer if the court strikes down this law.
Status: Unfortunately, the US Supreme Court voted to strike down part of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, a decision that will hamper efforts to ensure a fair opportunity to vote for everyone. Whatever the final result, the ACLU will continue to protect Alaskans’ right to vote.