INTRODUCTION

Following the “Bloody Sunday” attack on peaceful protestors in Selma, Alabama, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which “employed extraordinary measures” to combat the “extraordinary problem” of voting discrimination.

One section of the law required certain local governments “to obtain federal permission before enacting any law related to voting,” a regime known as preclearance. In 2013, the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder held that the preclearance regime, as written, was unconstitutional but invited Congress to create a new preclearance system that “speaks to current conditions.”

So far, Congress has been unable to update the stricken preclearance formula. In future efforts, lawmakers should create a new preclearance framework that acknowledges the limits set by Shelby County and the virtues of largely decentralized elections.

Press Release: It’s Time to Act on Voting Rights

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