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ACLU Intervenes in Voting Rights Case

PHOENIX (CN) - A federal judge granted the ACLU's motion to intervene in Arizona's challenge of Section 5 the Voting Rights Act.

Section 5 requires states with a history of discriminatory voting laws - including Arizona - to get approval from the Justice Department or the D.C. Federal Court before they can change their voting laws.

Arizona challenged Section 5 in August 2011, claiming that when Congress reauthorized the law in 2006 it did not show evidence of continuing discrimination in Arizona. Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne sued U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, claiming that Section 5 imposes a severe burden on the state.

The ACLU said that the time that Horne was trying to "bail out" of the Voting Rights Act, as "part of a nationwide effort to rob people of color of their voice at the ballot box."

Citing the state's draconian, and partially enjoined, immigration law and its ban on Mexican-American studies in public schools, the ACLU said it was "shameful and disingenuous for [Horne] to say that discrimination in Arizona doesn't exist."

U.S. District Judge John Bates this week granted the ACLU's request to intervene on behalf of seven registered voters, including African-Americans, Latinos, a Japanese-American and a Filipino American.

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