“Voting Rights Act Reauthorization: Research-Based Recommendations to Improve Voting Access”

The Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity has issued this report, which recommends Congress make the following changes when renewing the VRA:

    1. Restore discriminatory intent as a rationale for objecting to a voting change pursuant to Section 5
    2. Disallow substituting “ability to elect” districts with “influence districts” in Section 5 review
    3. Establish a Commission to Study Revising the Section 5 Coverage Formula
    4. Ensure that partisan block voting does not mask racial block voting in Section 5 and Section 2 analyses
    5. Adjust Section 203 coverage formula – 1. cover jurisdictions with 7,500 or more limited English proficient voting age citizens of the same language & 2. exempt jurisdictions with fewer than 25 LEP voting age citizens of the same language group
    6. Require covered jurisdictions to submit bilingual plans to DOJ for review.
    7. Assist Section 203 compliance by providing funding and assistance.
    8. Expand federal observer jurisdiction to Section 203 covered jurisdictions.
    9. Clarify that Section 208 applies to voters with limited English language abilities.
    10. Bring parity to fines for violations.
    11. Authorize the Attorney General to collect civil penalties for non-compliance.
    12. Make expert witness fees recoverable.

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