“Voting plan could put state ‘on thin ice’; One statewide violation would mean pre-clearance kicks in under proposal”

Mary Orndorff Toryan for Gannett: “South Carolina will be one misstep away from renewed federal supervision of its elections if legislation to restore part of the Voting Rights Act becomes law.The bill introduced Thursday would rewrite the rules that would determine which states need strict oversight based on the chance their election-related changes could harm minority voters.”

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Edward Blum of the Project on Fair Representation, who engineered the Supreme Court case that led to the old formula being declared unconstitutional, said Friday the 15-year time frame is too long. He said it’s one reason the bill, if it becomes law, would be challenged in court.

While a record of discrimination within the most recent 15 years is more current than voter turnout data from the 1970s, Blum said a term of two presidential elections would be better.

“Fifteen years is a very long time in American political history, and it may indeed be something this court will not tolerate,” Blum said.

Blum also questioned whether it’s fair to hold a large state like Texas, with thousands of small, local jurisdictions, accountable for the actions of any five of them.

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