U.S. Supreme Court Accepts Voting Rights Case

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November 13, 2012
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Days after a momentous national election, the United State Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to the historic 1965 Voting Rights Act. 

The high court will decide a case brought by an Alabama county objecting to a provision of the Voting Right Act requiring certain jurisdictions to obtain approval from the Justice Department or a federal court before making changes in election laws or voting rules.

The provision of the Voting Rights Act under question is meant to protect the rights of minority voters in areas of the country with a history of racial discrimination.

Although most of the regions covered by Act are in the Southern U.S., Monterey, Yuba, and Kings County in California are also included. In recent years, Latinos in Monterey County cited the Voting Rights Act to delay consolidation of judicial districts and to block the County's move to reduce the number of polling places in a special election.

Advocates who believe that the provision of the Act should be eliminated or changed argue that the racial discrimination which created the need for the provision no longer exists in the states and regions under the provision's requirements.

But within the last year, the Justice Department invoked the Act to block enforcement of voter identification laws in Texas and South Carolina, and to challenge reduction of early voting in Florida. Justice Department officials said that these laws would have a negative impact on African American and Latino voters.

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