Voting Rights Act gets new hearing



The U.S. Supreme Court once again held hearings today on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. At issue: a provision that prevents discriminatory voting practices in several states, where these practices were once common, and requires these states to get approval from the Justice Department before changing any voting procedures, especially those that could suppress voting among people of color. In one Texas county in 2004, the election board voted to reduce early voting when it learned students at historically Black colleges in the area would be on spring break the same week as the primary election. The county was forced to give up its efforts after the NAACP complained to the Justice Department and determined the change had not been pre-cleared under the provision.

The provision covers Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. It also covers parts of California, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina and South Dakota. Arizona, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and New York have filed briefs in the Supreme Court in an effort to uphold the law. Alabama and Georgia oppose the law.

Although progress has been made in this country, Congress decided in 2006 the provision should not be allowed to expire. Let’s see what the justices decide…

Speak your peace.

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