The U.S. Supreme Court this week struck down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that some say could open the door to future voting rights violations. When the voting Rights Act was passed in the mid-60’s, there were a number of jurisdictions in this country that historically violated the rights of minorities to vote. The 1965 Act contained a formula used to determine those jurisdictions that are required to obtain Justice Department clearance before they can change their voting laws, requiring clearance for things as benign as moving a polling place across the street.
Citing progress made by the Southern states at issue and other offending jurisdictions, the court ruled that Congress must go back and re-issue the formula based upon more recent data, asserting that the old formula is “based on decades-old data.” Whether Congress is functional enough to agree on such a formula will have to be seen. For a full analysis of the decision in plain English, click here.