By Allison Riggs, Southern Coalition for Social Justice Staff Attorney
Community organizing is even more critical after the United States Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a key provision from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 earlier today. Voting rights suffered an unnecessary setback with the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder (June 25, 2013). Section 5 is a part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires certain jurisdictions, identified in Section 4 of the Act, to get preclearance before implementing any changes affecting voting. In an opinion not consistent with decades of Supreme Court precedent, this Court struck down Section 4 deemed the coverage formula which determined which states and counties had to obtain preclearance before changing its voting laws. Without the coverage formula, states with histories of discriminatory voting practices do not have to consult with the Department of Justice before changing its voting laws. The Court has effectively removed any barriers preventing re-implementation of legislation that prejudices the voting rights of vulnerable populations.
How Can I Help
One of the most important elements of Section 5 is the notification requirements and comment processes the Voting Rights Act established and the centralized flow of information through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Since the implementation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, jurisdictions had to seek input from affected minority voters, and submit information about the proposed change to DOJ. They are no longer required to do so. Now, organizations on the ground will need to develop a procedure for collecting and disseminating this vital information. www.socialworkhelper.com/2013/06/25/supreme-court-guts-the-voting-rights-act-of-1965/