A year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of the Voting Right Act, civil rights leaders are frustrated with delays in restoring key protections for minority voters.
The decision last summer effectively ended the practice of having federal officials review changes to voting laws in several jurisdictions. The rule was designed to ensure those areas did not enact laws that would discriminate against certain sections of the voting population.
Attempts to restore the requirement have stalled in Congress, and Wisconsin-NAACP Political Action Chair Gregory Jones says that needs to change. “Although the concept of preclearance survived constitutional scrutiny,” Jones says “it will have no actual effect unless and until a new statute determines who should be covered by it.”
The bill pending in Congress creates a new formula to help determine which jurisdictions would need approval for election law changes. While he has concerns about exemptions for voter ID laws, Jones says some action is needed to restore the Voting Rights Act. “Too many of us sacrificed our time, resources, and in some cases people lost their lives, in support of a fair voting process.”
The bipartisan legislation has seen little movement so far in Washington.