Supreme Court invalidates part of Voting Rights Act

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday to invalidate a section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which required some states to get pre-clearance before changing their election laws.

In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4. Section 4 provided a method for determining which states must be pre-approved before making any changes to their voting laws to help prevent voting discrimination.

â??My stomach sank. I was applauded,â?? said Randall County Democratic Chair, Jann Allen when she heard of the ruling. â??I felt like I had been catapulted back into the 60â??s.â??

With the removal of Section 4 from the Voting Rights Act, states as allowed to change election laws like move polling places that some may believe could possibly lead to discrimination.

â??Section 2 is still in effect,â?? said Bivins Political Science Professor Dave Rausch. â??Under Section 2, if you think that thatâ??s a discriminatory action, you or the federal government can come in and sue the city, the county, whatever jurisdiction is the one that moved the polling place.â??

While there are still other sections to the Voting Rights Act that are still in place to protect peopleâ??s voting rights, Allen believes this may just be the beginning of more changes.

â??It sets a president for possible chipping away at the other sections and peopleâ??s lives were given for that,â?? said Allen.

The Supreme Court ruled that the 40-year-old data did not reflect racial progression in American society. Congress is being asked to come up with a new formula to decide which states require pre-clearance.

â??Congress can pass new legislation outlining what states are affected by pre-clearance,â?? said Rausch.â??Theoretically, Congress can pass that legislation. Politically and realistically, Congress probably wonâ??t pass that legislation.â??

As a domino effect, Texas wasted no time in putting into effect the Voter ID Law after the ruling. The legislation requires voters to show photo identification at polling places.

â??Texas voter ID law was tied up in the pre-clearance,â?? said Rausch.â??So the US Attorney General and the Department of Justice said that you cannot actually implement this law until we pre-clear it to make sure it is not discriminatory.â??

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