On November 13, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Nix v Holder, 12-81. This is the challenge to the federal Voting Rights Act that started in Kinston, North Carolina. It was formerly called LaRoque v Holder. It started when the voters of Kinston voted to switch municipal elections from partisan elections to non-partisan elections. The U.S. Justice Department initially refused to approve that change. The Justice Department felt blacks would have a better chance of being elected to the city council if partisan elections were in place. But after a potential independent candidate for city council, and some other voters, sued, the Justice Department changed its mind and approved the change.
The U.S. Supreme Court has already agreed to hear an Alabama challenge to the Voting Rights Act, so the court’s disinterest in the North Carolina case is not of great importance. However, because one of the plaintiffs in the North Carolina case was an independent candidate, who argued he had standing because ballot access for independent candidates in North Carolina is extremely restrictive and therefore he would be better off with a non-partisan system, that made the North Carolina case interesting for people who care about ballot access. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the news.