Significant legislation that altered voting laws are the Voting Rights Act. It banned literacy tests in half a dozen states, gave the attorney general authority to send observers to elections, and gave the federal government preapproval power over changes in voting procedures in places with a history of discrimination. Within a few years of its passage, thousands of Black and brown Americans could vote. Since then, bipartisan majorities in Congress have reauthorized the Act five times, and President Bush has lauded the Act.
The Voting Rights Act has many essential protections for those who want to exercise their civic rights and vote. First, it prohibits states and political subdivisions from using voter-discrimination tests, prerequisites, or procedures. Second, the Act prohibits discrimination in voter registration based on race, color, or religion.
The Act also protects minority groups by requiring that elections be held in the languages of minority groups, including English. Affected jurisdictions must meet several requirements to ensure compliance with the Act. Whether a voting system complies with these requirements is a matter of local regulation, but failure to comply does not preclude judicial action.
The Voting Rights Act’s language protections apply to all elections, including elections for officers, elections for constitutional amendments, and special district elections.
These changes may be made through the legislative, judicial, or executive branches. A state’s voting rules may need to be precleared by the Executive branch if changes have been made. However, changes to party platforms are not subject to this requirement.
The federal government has limited its powers under Section 5, prompting states to make improvements. For example, in 2011, the DOJ objected to changes in the Pitt County School District in North Carolina, which reduced minority representation. In response, the federal court said the rule could not take effect in the five counties without extending voting hours.
A change in voting standards or procedures that violates Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is illegal. The Voting Rights Act prohibits changes that dilute the strength of the minority vote.
The Voting Rights Act prohibits tests and other procedures that exclude certain groups from voting. These practices violate Section 2 and can prevent minority voters from casting their ballots. The Act also applies to political subdivisions, as long as they have removed the incident causing the discrimination and ensured no continuing effect on voting.
Several cases have arisen under Section 2 in recent years. In the case of Arizona, the state has imposed a law that forbids cities from collecting absentee ballots in batches. This law has a disproportionate impact on minority voters. The Arizona attorney general has filed a cert petition with the Supreme Court, but the case still needs to be settled.
The first purpose of the Voting Rights Act is to guarantee that every person in the country has an equal opportunity to vote. The Act prohibits using religious tests and property qualifications to determine eligibility for state office and voting. It also prevents states from making laws that would make it more difficult for individuals of a particular religion or race to vote.
The Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination in voting. This section prohibits discrimination based on race, color, language, or national origin. Unfortunately, this provision only applies to existing voting laws. Before Shelby County v Holder, Section 4 had been essential. In 2013, it classified Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina as “qualifying jurisdictions.”
In the 1968 presidential election, fewer than 50% of the eligible voters in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx voted. It is a clear violation of the law. The court explained that intentional vote dilution violates the Fourteenth Amendment. This provision protects minority voters from discrimination in elections, and Congress relied on it when reauthorizing Section 5.
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