The Voting Rights act 1965 was enacted to address historic racial voting discrimination. At issue was section 4 of the Act the required preclearance to some states and jurisdictions before enacting new voting laws of their own. When congress reauthorized the the Act in 2006, they didn’t change the formula in for preclearance. The rest of the Act was not in question. The case before the Court originated from a redistricting controversy. Shelby County Alabama redrew the district lines without receiving preclearance. When the federal government intervened, the county sued.
Has race relations improved in Alabama and nationwide to make the preclearance formula outdated to apply to the current conditions?
Is the formula an unconstitutional burden in light of the current conditions?
Yes the preclearance formula is outdated
Yes formula is an unconstitutional burden in light of the current conditions.
When congress passed the Voting Rights Act at the height of widespread discrimination against African-Americans. At that time, states passed laws, such as poll taxes and intelligent test, designed to keep African-Americans from voting. When Alabama’s state troopers use unnecessary physical force on peaceful protesters on March 7th 1965 what refers as Bloody Sunday, congress and President Johnson was moved to pass the Voting Rights Act. The Current conditions demonstrated to the Court that race relations have improved: An African-American hold a seat on the County Council, Selma has an African-American mayor, an African-American president and increased voter participation.
While the Court recognized that discrimination still exist, the Court believes that race relations improved enough in Alabama and nationwide to make the formula in question outdated and burdensome. States can be sued for violating the remaining parts of the Act still active, but the preclearance part of the Act is null unless Attorney General Holder is in his suit against Texas and getting Texas back on preclearance.
Today’s voting Controversies
Today there are 2 main voting controversies:
Voter photo ID. Proponents argue a photo ID helps election judges verify the voters. Opponents argue that a photo ID requirement is like a poll tax because it cost money to get a ID
Gerrymandering. At least every 10 years district, ward and precinct lines are redrawn based on population. All too often legislatures will redraw lines base on political advantages. Thus, redistricting is controversial every time it take place.