After VRA Ruling, Florida Looks to Make Sweeping Changes Without Oversight

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

(Miami Workers Center/flickr)

Earlier this summer, the Supreme Court gave states and localities the green light to remake their voting laws without the federal government's approval. The change came from a 5-4 decision in the case Shelby County Vs. Holder.

At the heart of the case were two provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965—Section 5, which requires certain states and local governments to obtain federal preclearance before implementing any changes to their voting laws or practices, and Section 4, which contains the coverage formula that determines which jurisdictions are subjected to preclearance based on their histories of discrimination in voting. Both were found to be unconstitutional.

This week, we're looking at how the decision has already started to change voting laws across the United States.

Today we look at Florida. Up until the Shelby County decision, five counties had to ask the Justice Department for permission before changing their voting laws.

Gina Jordan, reporter for WLRN in Miami, says the state is now making sweeping changes without federal oversight.



Gina Jordan

Produced by:

Megan Quellhorst


T.J. Raphael

Comments [2]

Diane L McNamara

Is Hockenberry unaware of how close many elections are? He makes it sound acceptable for illegal immigrants to be voting.

Aug. 22 2013 10:35 AM

Does John Hockenberry realize what a mendacious bit of misinformation it is, to suggest that "the Voting Rights Act is out of the way" in Florida's making its own electoral laws?

The Voting Rights Act isn't overruled. It is still, overwhelmingly, in effect as it was originally passed. In the recent Supreme Court decision of Shelby County versus Alabama, the Court confined its ruling to to just one portion of just one section of the Act. The Supreme Court merely said that data and facts from forty years ago cannnot continue to be the basis for "preclearance" activity by the Justice Department in supervising (and overruling) how the citizens of some states and some portions of some states govern themselves.

This week-long campaign by The Takeaway is an insult to any good technical understanding of the decision in Shelby County v Holder, as was pointed out yesterday by James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal's online column "Best of the Web":

Aug. 21 2013 09:58 AM

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