Federal judges have ruled four separate times this year that Republican leaders in Texas rigged election systems to discriminate against minority voters, which potentially could land the entire state under federal oversight.
Under what’s known as preclearance, local and state governments with a history of discrimination cannot change their voting procedures without approval from officials in Washington. However, the man who would be in charge of that oversight, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has been one of the leading opponents of the law Texas officials broke, the Voting Rights Act.
“I don’t think we can expect there’s going to be very aggressive enforcement under Sessions,” said University of California, Irvine law professor Richard Hasen, who runs the influential Election Law Blog.
If Texas is put into preclearance, the internal workings of the Justice Department will play a crucial role in the health of the state’s democracy.