Tags: Voting Rights | Voting Rights | Supreme Court ruling | gray areas

Supreme Court Ruling on Voting Rights Act: Gray Areas Remain After Shelby County v. Holder Case Ruling

By    |   Sunday, 22 Nov 2015 10:56 PM

Shelby County v. Holder, a Supreme Court of the United States ruling on voting rights, dramatically changed the way potentially discriminatory voting laws are addressed. Before the ruling, some states were required by Sections 4 and 5 of 1965's Voting Rights Act to seek approval from the U.S. Justice Department before changing any laws or policies related to voting.

With its ruling, SCOTUS did away with Section 4, which determined which states were included, but did not strike down Section 5, which established the approval requirement. The court's decision has left holes in the process for dealing with potential discrimination and how it affects voting rights.

VOTE NOW: Should Convicted Felons Be Allowed to Vote?

The government can still require states to seek permission before changing voting laws. However, with Section 4 no longer valid, there are no formulas or criteria for determining which states can be subjected to this requirement. So, while the ban on discrimination in voting practices remains, there's no clear way on how to apply it.

As ProPublica noted, SCOTUS decided that under the 10th Amendment, Section 4 was unconstitutional. In its decision, the court proclaimed the formulas for determining which states to include were "based on 40-year-old facts having no logical relation to the present day." The Washington Post noted that the court's decision basically tells the government that in order to retain Section 5 and require states to seek preclearance, it must establish new rules for doing so. However, that hasn't happened.

A Voting Rights Amendments Act introduced in 2014 was not passed, and nothing has yet been done to clarify the process for determining to what states the Voting Rights Act applies. MSNBC noted that even the amendment didn't address one of the most contentious issues related to voting laws: the requirement that voters present a photo identification. This requirement has stirred controversy, with opponents arguing it shut out certain groups of people from the voting process. For example, some people might not be able to afford to obtain a state-issued driver's license or other photo ID.

TELL US: How Do You Feel About Voting Rights for Convicted Felons?

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Shelby County v. Holder, a Supreme Court of the United States ruling on voting rights, dramatically changed the way potentially discriminatory voting laws are addressed.
Voting Rights, Supreme Court ruling, gray areas
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2015-56-22
Sunday, 22 Nov 2015 10:56 PM
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