By The Associated Press & KTUU Staff
10:41 PM AKDT, August 21, 2012
Alaska is suing to block enforcement of provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act.
Alaska is among the states required to submit redistricting plans or proposed election changes to the U.S. Justice Department for review to ensure the plans aren't discriminatory.
The state's lawsuit Tuesday claims there's no evidence that Alaska should be considered among the states "where voting discrimination has been most flagrant."
"The Voting Rights Act was a product of a crisis in the South," said State Assistant Attorney General Margaret Paton-Walsh. "Congress developed a formula to capture those states, and Alaska was captured along with it."
The lawsuit says no evidence was presented to Congress in 2006, when the law was reauthorized, that shows Alaska had any such violations, but not everyone agrees.
"Alaska has a long history of discriminating against native voters and it continues to do so by failing to provide the required language assistance and equal poll access to Alaska voters," said ACLU Director for Alaska Jeffrey Mittman.
"We've got many ways that people can get assistance," said Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell. "You can come in or call the election office."
The state argues two sections of the law are unconstitutional. It asks a judge to bar its enforcement or at least in the state of Alaska.
The lawsuit names U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as the defendant. The federal government has 60 days to respond.
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